- this week

Gender: M Meaning of Basil: "regal" Origin of Basil: Greek

Although Greek in origin--in the fourth century, a bishop by that name established the principles of the Greek Orthodox Church--Basil for years took on the aura of aquiline-nosed upper-class Britishness of Sherlock Holmes portrayer Basil Rathbone, then spiced with the fragrant aroma of the herb that entered with the Pesto generation.

Now, it's time to take a fresh look at Basil.

Basil was on the U.S. popularity list quite regularly up till 1970, reaching a high of Number 328 in 1904. Its history includes several rulers of the Byzantine Empire and Eastern Orthodox saints, including one whose grandmother, father, older sister and two younger brothers were all saints as well.

Basil has also been seen as a figure of fun, as in the manic Basil Fawlty in the British TV comedy classic "Fawlty Towers," in the Disney movie "Basil of Baker Street," and as Basil Brush and Basil Wombat in other kids' entertainment.

The Russian version, Vassily, is another possibility.

Famous People Named Basil

Basil Arthur, New Zealand politician
Basil al-Assad, son and heir-apparent of the late Syrian President Hafez al-Assad
Basil Brooke, 1st Viscount Brookeborough, politician and third Prime Minister of Northern Ireland
Basil Bunting, British modernist poet
Basil Dearden, British film director
Basil W. Duke, Confederate American Civil War general and historian
Air Chief Marshal Basil Embry, British Royal Air Force officer
Basil Foley, son of actor Dave Foley
Basil Buzz Hargrove, Canadian former labour union leader
B. H. Liddell Hart, English soldier, military historian and leading inter-war theorist
Basil Hetzel, Australian medical researcher
Basil Hiley, British quantum physicist
Basil Hood, British librettist and lyricist
Basil Mott, British civil engineer
Basil O'Connor, American lawyer and chairman and president of the American Red Cross
Basil Charles Godfrey Place, British Royal Navy rear-admiral and recipient of the Victoria Cross
Basil Radford, British actor
Basil Rathbone, British actor famous for his portrayal of Sherlock Holmes
Basil Spence, Scottish architect
Basil Wolverton, American cartoonist, illustrator, comic book writer-artist
Basil Zaharoff, Turkish-born arms trader and financier, and chairman of the Vickers munitions company during World War I

Pop Culture References for the name Basil

Basil, protagonist of Wilkie Collins' 1852 Basil (novel)
Basil of the Basil of Baker Street novels and the movie The Great Mouse Detective
Basil, a character in the television series Fraggle Rock
Basil Fawlty, the main character in Fawlty Towers, played by John Cleese
Basil Brush, a glove puppet fox popular on children's television in the UK
Basil the Bear (Sesame Park), main character of the Canadian children's show Sesame Park
Basil, a character in the anime and manga series Reborn!
Basil, a character on the Playhouse Disney TV series Johnny and the Sprites
Basil Wombat, a character on SeeMore's Playhouse
Basil, a character in the breeding and farming game, Harvest Moon
Basil Hallward, the artist that paints the haunting portrait of Dorian Gray in Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray
Basil the Bat Lord, an enemy racer in Lego Racers (video game)
Basil Stag Hare, member of the Fur and Foot Fighting Patrol in Brian Jacques' Redwall
Basil Hawkins, a character in a popular manga One Piece
Basil Exposition, a character in the Austin Powers films
Basil, Alex Delarge's snake from the film A Clockwork Orange (film)
Basil Brightberry, the gentlemouse sommelier in the children's Brambly Hedge series
Basil Ransom, a Mississippi lawyer in Henry James's 1886 novel The Bostonians
Basil, a Pirate in the film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Basil, character in "The Internment Chronicles" by Lauren DeStefano
Basil is an herb popular for culinary use.

Baz, Bas

Basil's International Variations

Basle, Basilius (Swedish) Bazyli, Bazel (Slavic) Basul (Arabic) Vasili, Vas, Vaslek, Wassily, Vasya, Vasily, Vassily (Russian) Vasil, Bazil (Czech) Vasile (Romanian) Bale, Basile (French) Vazul (Hungarian) Breasal (Irish) Basek (Polish) Basilio (Spanish)