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English names are personal names used in, or originating in, England. In England, as elsewhere in the English-speaking world, a complete name usually consists of one or more given names, commonly referred to as first names, and a (most commonly patrilineal, rarely matrilineal) family name or surname, also referred to as a last name. The given names after the first are often referred to as middle names.[1]

Given names

Few given names used in England have English derivations. Most traditional names are Hebrew (Daniel, David, Elizabeth, Susan), Greek (Nicholas, Dorothy, George, Helen), The name Vicky in Greece comes from the feminine name Vasiliki. Germanic names adopted via the transmission of Old French/Norman (Robert, Richard, Gertrude, Charlotte), Latin (Adrian, Amelia, Patrick) or Celtic.

A small fraction of given names have an actual English derivation (see Anglo-Saxon names), such as 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[citation needed], Howard, Percy, Montague, Stanley or Gordon, though some of those 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 the majority of the 19th century, the most popular given names were Mary for girls and either John or William for boys. Throughout the Early Modern period, the diversity of given names was comparatively small; the three most frequent male given names accounted for close to 50% of the 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, only 22.9% of the newborn boys, and 16.2% of the newborn girls in the UK shared the top three given names for each gender. 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 the 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 Greek Italian Portuguese Spanish
Aaron Aaron Aaron Aaron Aronne Arão Aarón
Adam Adam Adam Adám Adamo Adão Adán
Adolph Adolphe Adolf Adolfos Adolfo Adolfo Adolfo
Adrian Adrien Adrian Adrianós Adriano Adriano Adrián
Alexander Alexandre Alexander Aléxandros Alessandro Alexandre Alejandro
Alfred Alfred Alfred Alfredos Alfredo Alfredo Alfredo
Alphonse Alphonse Alfons Alfonsos Alfonso Afonso Alfonso
Amadeus Amédée Amadeus Amadeos Amedeo Amadeu Amadeo
Andrew André Andreas Andréas Andrea André Andrés
Angel Ange Engel Ángelos Angelo Anjo Ángel
Anthony Antoine Anton Antónios Antonio Antônio Antonio
Arcadius Arcadius Arkadius Arkádios Arcadio Arcádio Arcadio
Archangel Archange Erzengel Archángelos Arcangelo Arcanjo Arcángel
Arthur Arthur Arthur Arthouros Arturo Artur Arturo
Charles Charles Karl Karolos Carlo Carlos Carlos
Christian Christian Christian Christianós Cristiano Cristiano Cristián
Christopher Christophe Christoph Christóforos Cristoforo Cristóvão Cristóball
Cornelius Corneille Cornelius Kornilios Cornelio Cornélio Cornelio
Damian Damien Damian Damianós Damiano Damião Damián
David David David Davíd Davide Davi David
Dennis Denis Dennis Dionýsios Dionisio Dionísio Dionisio
Edmund Edmond Edmund Edmoundos Edmundo Edmundo Edmundo
Edward Édouard Eduard Edouardos Edoardo Eduardo Eduardo
Elijah Élie Elias Ilías Elia Elías Elías
Emmanuel Emmanuel Emanuel Emmanouíl Emanuele Manuel Manuel
Eugene Eugène Eugen Evgénios Eugenio Eugênio Eugenio
Eustace Eustache Eustachius Efstáchyos Eustachio Eustácio Eustaquio
Evans Évangilos - Evángelos Evangelo - -
Francis François Franz Frangiskos Francesco Francisco Francisco
Frederick Frédéric Friedrich Friderikos Federico Frederico Federico
Gavinus Gabin Gabinus Gavinos Gavino Gavino Gabino
George Georges Georg Geórgios Giorgio Jorge Jorge
Gerald Gérald Gerhold Geraldos Giraldo Geraldo Geraldo
Gerard Gérard Gerhard Gerardos Gerardo Gerardo Gerardo
Gregory Grégoire Gregor Grigórios Gregorio Gregório Gregorio
Harold Harold Harald - Aroldo Haroldo Haroldo
Henry Henri Heinrich Enríkos Enrico Henrique Enrique
Herbert Herbert Heribert - Erberto Herberto Herberto
Honorius Honoré Honorius - Onorio Honório Honorio
Horace Horace Horaz Oratios Orazio Horácio Horacio
Hugh Hugo Hugo - Ugo Hugo Hugo
Isaiah Isaïe Jesaja Isaías Isaia Isaías Isaías
Jacob Jacques Jakob Iákovos Giacobbe Jacó Jacobo
James Jacques Jakob - Giacomo Thiago Santiago
Jeremiah Jérémie Jeremias Ieremías Geremia Jeremias Jeremías
Jerome Jérôme Hieronymus Ierónymos Gerolamo Jerônimo Jerónimo
John Jean Johann Ioánnis Giovanni João Juan
Jonah Jonas Jona Ionás Giona Jonas Jonás
Joseph Joseph Josef Iosíf Giuseppe José José
Julian Julien Julian Ioulianos Giuliano Juliano Julián
Julius Jules Julius Ioulios Giulio Júlio Julio
Laurence Laurent Lorenz Lavrentios Lorenzo Laurêncio Lorenzo
Lazarus Lazare Lazarus Lázaros Lazzaro Lázaro Lázaro
Louis Louis Ludwig Loizos Luigi Luís Luis
Marcus Marc Markus Márkos Marco Marcos Marcos
Martin Martin Martin - Martino Martinho Martín
Michael Michel Michael Michaíl Michele Miguel Miguel
Moses Moïse Mose Moisís Mosè Moisés Moisés
Nathan Nathan Natan Nathanaíl Natan Natã Natán
Nicholas Nicolas Nikolaus Nikòlaos Niccolò Nicolau Nicolás
Noah Noé Noach Noe Noè Noé Noé
Octavius Octave Oktavian Oktavios Ottavio Otávio Octavio
Orpheus Orphée Orpheus Orféas Orfeo Orfeu Orfeo
Oscar Oscar Oskar - - Óscar Óscar
Oswald Osvald Oswald - Osvaldo Osvaldo Osvaldo
Patrick Patrice Patrick Patrikios Patrizio Patrício Patricio
Paul Paul Paul Pávlos Paolo Paulo Pablo
Peter Pierre Peter Pétros Pietro Pedro Pedro
Philip Philippe Philipp Fílippos Filippo Filipe Felipe
Plutarch Plutarque Plutarch Ploútarchos Plutarco Plutarco Plutarco
Prosper Prosper Prosper - Prospero Próspero Próspero
Ralph Raoul Ralph Raoul Raul Raul Raúl
Raphael Raphaël Raphael Rafaíl Raffaele Rafael Rafael
Richard Richard Richard Richárdos Riccardo Ricardo Ricardo
Robert Robert Robert Rovertos - Roberto Roberto
Roderick Rodrigue Roderich Rodrigos Rodrigo Rodrigo Rodrigo
Rudolph Rodolphe Rudolf Rodolfos Rodolfo Rodolfo Rodolfo
Stanislaus Stanislas Stanislaus - Stanislao Estanislau Estanislao
Stephen Étienne Stephan Stéfanos Stefano Estevão Esteban
Spyrus Spyridon - Spyrídon Spiridione - Spiridión
Thomas Thomas Thomas Thomás Tommaso Tomás Tomás
Vangel - - Vangélis Vangeli - -
Victor Victor Viktor Víktoras Vittorio Vítor Víctor
William Guillaume Wilhelm Goulielmos Guglielmo Guilherme Guillermo
Translations of female English given names
English French German Greek Hungarian Italian Portuguese Spanish
Alexandra Alexandra Alexandra Alexándra Alexandra Alessandra Alexandra Alejandra
Alice Alice Alice Alíki Alice Alice Alice Alicia
Amy Aimée - Amánta Amánta Amata Amada Amada
Angela Angèle Angela Angela Angéla Angela Ângela Ángela
Angelica Angélique Angelika Angeliki Angyalka Angelica Angélica Angélica
Ann Anne Anna Ánna Anna Anna Ana Ana
Annabel Annabelle - - - - Anabela Anabel
Katherine Catherine Katarina Ekaterini - Caterina Catarina Catalina
Charlotte Charlotte Charlotte Karlotta Sarolta Carlotta Carlota Carlota
Christine Christine Christina Christína Krisztina Cristina Cristina Cristina
Dorothy Dorothée Dorothea Dorothéa Dorottya Dorotea Doroteia Dorotea
Eleanor Éléonore Eleonora Eleonóra Eleonóra Eleonora Leonor Leonor
Elizabeth Élliezet Elisabeth Elisávet Erzsébet Elisabetta Elisabete Elisabet
Evangelie Évangile Evangelina Evangelía - Evangelina - Evangelina
Felicity Félicité Felicitas - Felicitás Felicita Felicidade Felicidad
Helen Hélèna Helena Eléni - Elena Helena Elena
Jane Jeanne Johanna Ioánna - Giovanna Joana Juana
Josepha Josèphe Josepha - Jozefa Giuseppa Josefa Josefa
Josephine Joséphine Josephine Iosifína Jozefina Giuseppina Josefina Josefina
Louise Louise Louisa Louíza Lujza Luisa Luísa Luisa
Lucy Lucie Lucia Loukia Luca Lucia Lúcia Lucía
Magdalene Madeleine Magdalena Magdaliní Magdaléna Maddalena Madalena Magdalena
Margaret Marguerite Margareta Margaríta Margaréta Margherita Margarida Margarita
Mary Marie Maria María Mária Maria Maria María
Nicole Nicole - Nikoletta Nikolett Nicoletta - Nicolasa
Paula Paule Paula - Paula Paοla Paula Paula
Paulina Pauline Paulina Pavlína Paulina Paolina Paulina Paulina
Sophia Sophie Sophia Sofía Zsófia Sofia Sofia Sofía
Susan Suzanne Susanne Souzána Zsuzsanna Susanna Susana Susana
Sylvia Sylvie Sylvia Sýlvia Szilvia Silvia Sílvia Silvia
Theresa Thérèse Theresa Tereza Terézia Teresa Teresa Teresa
Valerie Valérie - Valéria - Valeria Valeria Valeria
Victoria Victoria Viktoria Viktoría Victoria Vittoria Vitória Victoria
Basilica Basilique Basilika Vasilikí Bazilika Basilica Basílica Basílica
Violet Violet - Violetta - Violetta Violet Violeta


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. These were not always regularly formed: for example, the sons of a certain Norman named Robert used a modern inheritable surname, FitzGerald, in honour of an earlier relative, named Gerald.[4]

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 or more words, often joined by a hyphen or hyphens: for example Henry Hepburne-Scott. A few families have 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. ^ "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.