Basil Origin and Meaning

The name Basil is a boy's name of Greek origin meaning "royal".

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.

# in the US

Basil Rank in US Top 1000

# 297 on Nameberry

Basil Rank in Nameberry Top 1000

Basil Popularity

Famous People Named Basil

  • Basil WolvertonAmerican cartoonist, illustrator, comic book writer,artist
  • Basil ArthurNew Zealand politician
  • Basil HetzelAustralian medical researcher
  • Basil alAssad, son and heir,apparent of the late Syrian President Hafez al,Assad
  • Basil Brooke1st Viscount Brookeborough, politician and third Prime Minister of Northern Ireland
  • Basil BuntingBritish modernist poet
  • Basil DeardenBritish film director
  • Basil W. DukeConfederate American Civil War general and historian
  • Air Chief Marshal Basil EmbryBritish Royal Air Force officer
  • Basil Foleyson of actor Dave Foley
  • Basil Buzz HargroveCanadian former labour union leader
  • B. H. Liddell HartEnglish soldier, military historian and leading inter,war theorist
  • Basil HileyBritish quantum physicist
  • Basil HoodBritish librettist and lyricist
  • Basil MottBritish civil engineer
  • Basil O'ConnorAmerican lawyer and chairman and president of the American Red Cross
  • Basil Charles Godfrey PlaceBritish Royal Navy rear,admiral and recipient of the Victoria Cross
  • Basil RadfordBritish actor
  • Basil RathboneBritish actor famous for his portrayal of Sherlock Holmes
  • Basil SpenceScottish architect
  • Basil ZaharoffTurkish,born arms trader and financier, and chairman of the Vickers munitions company during World War I
  • Deveraux Octavian Basil Tylerson of musician Mick Jagger

Basil in Pop Culture

  • Basilprotagonist of Wilkie Collins' 1852 novel "Basil"
  • Basilof the "Basil of Baker Street" novels and the movie "The Great Mouse Detective"
  • Basila character in the television series "Fraggle Rock"
  • Basil Fawltythe main character in "Fawlty Towers," played by John Cleese
  • Basil Brusha 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"
  • Basila character in the anime and manga series "Reborn!"
  • Basila character on the Playhouse Disney TV series "Johnny and the Sprites"
  • Basil Wombata character on "SeeMore's Playhouse"
  • Basila character in the breeding and farming game "Harvest Moon"
  • Basil Hallwardthe artist that paints the haunting portrait of Dorian Gray in Oscar Wilde's "The Picture of Dorian Gray"
  • Basil the Bat Lordan enemy racer in Lego Racers (video game)
  • Basil Stag Haremember of the Fur and Foot Fighting Patrol in Brian Jacques' "Redwall"
  • Basil Hawkinsa character in a popular manga "One Piece"
  • Basil Expositiona character in the Austin Powers films
  • BasilAlex Delarge's snake from the film "A Clockwork Orange"
  • Basil Brightberrythe gentlemouse sommelier in the children's "Brambly Hedge" series
  • Basil Ransoma Mississippi lawyer in Henry James's 1886 novel "The Bostonians"
  • Basila pirate in the film "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang"
  • Basilcharacter in "The Internment Chronicles" by Lauren DeStefano
  • Basil is an herb popular for culinary use.