150+ English Names

The best English names from a range of sources

English names

by Pamela Redmond

What, exactly, are English names? Names most often found in England? (Short answer: No.) Names commonly used in English-speaking countries? (Kind of.) Or names rooted in the English language? (Definitely).

Many of the names most popular in countries where the official language is English — usually defined as the US, UK, Canada, and Australia, along with Ireland and New Zealand — are in fact rooted in other languages and cultures. Emma‘s origins are German, for instance, while Sophia is Greek. Noah is Hebrew, and Liam is Irish.

Many of these names are used widely around the world, far beyond English-speaking cultures. Emma, for example, is a Top 10 girls’ name in Norway, Italy, Finland, and Hungary, while Noah is in the Top 10 in Germany, Sweden, and Belgium.

Some names commonly considered English names are in fact English versions of names from other cultures. William is an English version of an originally-German name, for example, while Jane is the English feminization of John, itself originating in Hebrew.

Still there are many names that can be considered authentic English names. These include classics such as, along with English surnames used as first names, English word names, and place names from English-speaking countries.

Our roundup of the most well-known and best English names: 

Classic English Names

By classic English names, we mean names that have traditionally been used as first names that have English roots. These may be English variations of names originating in another language. We did not include native Welsh or Cornish names. Separated for girls and boys, these English name classics include:

English Names for Girls

English Names for Boys

English Surname Names

Many English surnames originated as patronymics (Jackson means son of Jack) or place names (Easton is East Town) or occupational names (Hunter means, well, hunter). Now these English surnames are frequently used as first names.

Place Names 

Many place names in the US that are used as first names are in fact derived from Native American names: Dakota, for example, or Savannah. We tried to stick to place names that were more authentically English.

English Word Names

Many English words are of course rooted in other languages, from Latin to French to Old Norse. But these are genuine English words now, and have in recent years morphed into English first names.

Subscribe to our newsletter

* indicates required

Read & Post Comments