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

The name Basil is a boy's name of Greek origin meaning "regal". Basil and is often added to lists like Unique Baby Names: Unusual and Rare and discussed in our forums with posts like "Baby a Day".

From the experts:

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.

Find other names based on Basil using our baby name generator.

Famous People Named Basil

Basil Wolverton, American cartoonist, illustrator, comic book writer-artist
Basil Arthur, New Zealand politician
Basil Hetzel, Australian medical researcher
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 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 Zaharoff, Turkish-born arms trader and financier, and chairman of the Vickers munitions company during World War I
Deveraux Octavian Basil Tyler, son of musician Mick Jagger

Pop Culture References for the name Basil

Basil, protagonist of Wilkie Collins' 1852 novel "Basil"
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"
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)


KBurnside99 Says:


One of my absolute favorite names! Baz is an adorable nickname. I hope this is my child's name some day.

christineolteanu Says:


There are a lot of saints with the name Basil and I like this name a lot. It means royal and this name is older than the herb. When names were translated from latin and greek "V"s were often changed to "B"s So Basil was originally Vasily just as Barbara was Varvara and Bibiana was Viviana (vivian).

nml28 Says:


I think it sounds cool idc that it's an herb

roseofjune Says:


I cannot take this name seriously no matter how hard I try. Imagine three siblings: Herbert, Basil, and Rosemary. Perhaps a chef could pull that off.

paulapuddephatt Says:


Same here.

paulapuddephatt Says:


I do like this, but Brush AND Fawlty? Too much. Ha, ha - boom, boom - sorry! 😀

CsprsSassyHrly Says:


I've been in love with this name ever since I was around 11. At 28, I still find myself absolutely enchanted by this name. The people I have told, however, don't seem as smitten with it. It makes me question whether or not I could actually use it.

Shaybaby1 Says:


Basil pronounced Baz-il (as said in the UK) sounds great for a boy. But I also love this name pronounced Bay-zil (as said in the US - and the way I pronounce the herb) for a girl.

SophyDJ Says:


Love this name, and the nickname Baz is amazing.

autumnreverie Says:


It means "king" in Greek and "brave, valiant'' in Arabic.

snowsbeloved Says:


Used to really love this name!

ashbee Says:


I really love Basil. It sounds so fresh yet has a long history of use around the world. Nickname Baz/Bas is cool. I hope it gets more use!

EleanorAll1 Says:


What do you mean force this on a kid? It's always seemed like a perfectly respectable name to me.

Zelliew Says:


Basil doesn't sound very regal, sorry. I think of Basil Brush

headintheclouds Says:


One of the rare herby nature names for a boy. I actually really loved Basil at one point, and I adore the nickname Bas/Baz so much! The meaning of regal is wonderful, and I think Basil would be adorable for a little boy, and sound vintage retro-cool as he grows up. I probably wouldn't do this in real life (it may be too matchy!), but I adore the sibset of Basil and Primrose together!

madmaddie Says:


Cool, but I don't think anybody would want to force this on a kid.