America

America is a unisex given name usually given in honor of the United States of America. It comes from Italian male name Amerigo, the medieval Italian form of Emmerich, a Germanic male name. While the second element of the name comes from ric (power, rule), the first part of the name is a little more complicated. It could be from Germanic ermen (whole, universal), amal (work, labor), or heim (home). Apparently the name came from Italian explorer Amerigo Vespucci.

Origin: Germanic

Variants:

  • Amerika (English, German, Dutch)
  • América (Spanish, Portuguese)

 

 

Male forms:

  • Americus (Latin)
  • Amerigo (Italian)
  • Emmerich (Germanic)

 

Ashton

Ashton comes from an English surname derived from a place name meaning “ash tree town”, composed from Old English elements aesc (ash tree) and tun (enclosure, settlement).

Origin: Old English

Variants:

  • Asheton

 

Arlo

Arlo is an English male name of uncertain meaning. It was used by English poet Edmund Spenser for his epic poem The Faerie Queen (1590-1596) as the name of a place called Arlo Hill which he might have based on a real place name, Aherlow, a Gaelic name meaning “lowland between two high lands” or “between two highlands”. I’ve also seen it listed as being a variant form of Harlow, a surname derived from a place name meaning “rock hill” or “army hill”. It might also be a variant of Carlo, the Italian form of Charles derived from Germanic name Karl meaning “man”. It was originally used to refer to men who were not thralls or or servants but who still lived at the bottom of society, connoting the idea of a “free man”.

Several sites have also listed the name as meaning “barberry tree” in Spanish but when I looked it up bérbero was the Spanish word for barberry, not Arlo, so I’m not sure whether it was an older Spanish form of the name or whether it comes from a different dialect.

Origin: Gaelic, Old English, Germanic

Variants:

  • Arlow (English)
  • Arlowe (English)

Artemis

Artemis is the Greek goddess of the hunt, wild animals, childbirth, and fertility, as well as a protecteress of young girls. A huntress who is often depicted with a bow and arrow, Artemis is the daughter of Zeus and Leto and the twin sister of Apollo. Some versions of the myth say Artemis was born first and helped her mother give birth to Apollo, and Artemis herself remained a virgin, forsaking any relationships with men. She’s also been associated with the moon (and Apollo with the sun). As for her name, Artemis is of uncertain etymology and meaning with some sources citing it as pre-Greek. It could possibly be related to Persian *arte or *arta meaning “great, excellent, holy” or from Greek árktos meaning “bear” since she did have a link to bears. The name has also been associated with Greek artemes “safe”, artamos “butcher”, artios “perfect, complete”.

Although Artemis is the name of a Greek goddess, it’s also had some usage as a boy’s name, making it unisex.

Origin: Persian, Greek

Feminine forms:

  • Artemisia (Ancient Greek, English)
  • Artemisa (Romanian)

 

Male forms:

  • Artemas
  • Artemus
  • Artemisios (Ancient Greek)
  • Artemidorus (Ancient Greek)
  • Artemidoros (Ancient Greek)

 

Apollo

Apollo is the Greek god of prophecy, medicine, the sun, light, music, poetry, plague and disease, and one of the most important gods in both the Greek and Roman pantheon. He is the twin brother of Artemis and often associated with the sun (and Artemis the moon), and the son of Zeus and Leto. His name is of uncertain etymology and meaning though the ancient Greeks often associated it with the Greek apollymi meaning “to destroy”. It’s also been associated with Doric apella “wall”, later referring to an assembly. Other possible theories regarding the name link it to Indo-European apelo “strength”, Greek apolusis “to redeem”, apolousis “purification”, apoloúōn “washing”, apolúōn “delivering”, aploun “simple”, and aei bállōn “always shooting (arrows)”. However, it seems more likely that Apollo is pre-Greek in origin, perhaps related to Appaliunas, an Anatolian god  whose name possibly means “father light” or “father lion”, though it could also be related to the name of a Hittite god related to Aplu, a Hurrian and Hittite god of plague and healing; the name might be derived from Akkadian Aplu Enlil meaning “the son of Enlil”, a title given to the Mesopotamian god Nergal (who was the god of war, pestilence, and death), though I’ve also seen it listed as meaning “father light” or “father lion”. Appaliunas might also have a Luwian etymology (Luwian being an ancient language related to Anatolian and closely related to Hittite) from *appal- meaning “trap, snare, pitfall, ambush”.

Origin: Indo-European, Greek, Akkadian

Variants:

  • Apollon (Ancient Greek)
  • Apollinaris (Ancient Greek)
  • Apollonios (Ancient Greek)
  • Apollinaire (French)
  • Apolinary (Polish)
  • Apolinar (Spanish)
  • Apollodorus (Ancient Greek)
  • Apollodoros (Ancient Greek)

 

Female forms:

  • Apolla
  • Apollonia (Ancient Greek, Italian)
  • Apollodora (Ancient Greek)
  • Apolena (Slovak, Czech)
  • Apolonia (Spanish, Polish)
  • Apolline (French)

Alexander

Alexander is the Latinized form of Greek Alexandros meaning “defending men” or “defender of men” from Greek elements alexo (to defend, help) and aner (man). In Greek mythology, it was another name for the Trojan prince Paris, famous for abducting Helen, wife of Menelaus, which started the ten year Trojan war. It’s also the name of Alexander the Great, king of Macedon, who created one of the largest empires in the ancient world. Alexander is also a surname derived from the given name.

Nicknames: Alex, Xander, Lex, Ander, Sandy, Sander

Origin: Ancient Greek

Variants:

  • Alexandros (Ancient Greek)
  • Aleksander (Polish, Slovene, Albanian, Estonian, Norwegian, Danish)

 

Female forms:

  • Alexandra (Ancient Greek, English, German, Dutch, French, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Icelandic, Portuguese, Romanian, Czech, Slovak, Hungarian, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Ukrainian)
  • Alexandria (English, Ancient Greek)
  • Alexandrina (Portuguese, English)
  • Aleksandra (Russian, Ukrainian, Polish, Serbian, Bulgarian, Slovene, Croatian, Macedonian, Estonian)

 

Ara

Ara is the Latin word for “altar” as well as the name of a constellation in the southern hemisphere. According to Greek mythology, it received its name when the Greek gods overthrew the Titans and the smoke from the altar was what the Milky Way represented. Other possible meanings in Latin are “refuge” and “protection, sanctuary” while in Greek ara means “prayer”, “vow”, and “curse”. Ara is also the singular form of Arai (also spelled Arae), female spirits (or daimones) of curses summoned from the underworld by the dead on those responsible for their deaths. They’re often confused with the Furies (Erinyes) and seem to be the children of Nyx, goddess of the night.

Ara is also the name of a legendary Armenian prince also known as Ara the Handsome because he was so beautiful that even the legendary queen Semiramis (known as Shamiram in Armenian) waged a war to capture him but he ended up being killed in battle. The meaning behind the name is unknown. Ara could also be a variant spelling of Arah, a Hebrew male name meaning “wayfarer, wanderer”. It could also be a nickname for names that being with Ara such as Arabella, Araceli, Ariadne and Arianna, etc. It’s also a place name in several places, as well as also being a Korean female name meaning “to know, to be wise” (아라).

Origin: Latin, Greek, Armenian, Hebrew, Korean

Variants:

  • Arah (Hebrew)
  • Arra (English)

 

Albion

Albion was once the earliest known name of what is now Great Britain and is sometimes still used as a poetic name for it. It’s related to Latin albus meaning “white”, in reference to the White Cliffs of Dover, though I’ve also seen it related to Common Celtic *albiyo “white; upper world” as opposed to the underworld. It’s also been linked to Proto-Indo-European *alb meaning “mountain”.

Origin: Latin, Celtic, Proto-Indo–European

Variants:

  • Albiona (f)

Arjay

Arjay is a phonetic spelling of initials R and J. According to Wikipedia, there’s a coal town in Kentucky called Arjay named after the initials of a coal operater named R.J. Asher in 1911. Although it doesn’t seem to have a meaning, it could always be used as a nickname for someone with the initials RJ.

Origin: English

Variants:

  • RJ
  • R.J.