Shakespeare names were drawn by the Bard from a range of ancient and modern cultures. Many have survived through the ages and are ripe for modern play or have already become hugely popular, especially in this generation.
Shakespeare is thought to have invented a handful of the names in his plays, some of which been remarkably popular in the centuries after his death. Among Shakespeare’s creations are Jessica, Miranda, Perdita, and Florizel.
Along with Olivia and Miranda, other Shakespeare baby names in the US Top 1000 include Audrey, Fabian, Juliet, Romeo, Marcellus, Beatrice, Orlando, and Ophelia. Shakespearean names with strong ties to their characters include Desdemona, Puck, Othello, and Hero.
Shakespeare names are as timeless as the Bard’s plays. Among the Shakespearean baby names we recommend are the following, many of them perfectly in style right now, ordered by their current popularity on Nameberry.
Description:Oliver is an international star, ranking near the top of the charts in the US and throughout the English-speaking world. And a host of European and Latin American countries, from Norway to Chile, Slovenia to Switzerland.
Description:Ophelia reentered the US Top 1000 in 2015 after more than 50 years off the charts, and rose more than 600 spots since then, with no signs of slowing down. Could Ophelia may be the next Olivia?
Description:Cassius, a Shakespearean name rooted in antiquity, is trending in a major way. It's one of a raft of Cas-starting names for both boys and girls, including Caspian, Cassian, and Cassia, that are enjoying a new moiment in the sun.
Origin:Latin from Greek
Meaning:"person from ancient city of Sebastia"
Description:Sebastian is derived from the Greek Sebastianos, meaning “from Sebastia.” Sebastia was a city in Asia Minor—modern day Sivas, Turkey. Sebastian is a name with a substantial history, first as the third-century martyr whose sufferings were a favorite subject of medieval artists, then as the name of memorable characters in such varied works as Shakespeare's Twelfth Night and The Tempest and Evelyn Waugh's Brideshead Revisited.
Meaning:"heart; daughter of the sea"
Description:Cordelia is exactly the kind of old-fashioned, grown-up name for girls that many parents are seeking for their daughters today. The name of King Lear's one sympathetic daughter, Cordelia has both style and substance along with its Shakespearean pedigree.
Meaning:"she who brings happiness; blessed"
Description:Beatrice is back. Stored in the attic for almost a century, the lovely Beatrice with its long literary (Shakespeare, Dante) and royal history is being looked at with fresh eyes by parents seeking a classic name with character and lots of upbeat nicknames, like Bea and Bee.
Meaning:"gift of God"
Description:Nathaniel was derived from the Hebrew name Netan’el, meaning “gift of God,” composed of the elements natan, meaning “to give,” and ’el, in reference to God. The name is featured several times in the Old and New Testaments, typically spelled Nathanael. In the New Testament, Nathanael is also known by his other name, Bartholomew.
Description:Imogen has long been fashionable in England and is gaining favor in the US among stylish parents. Pronounced the British way — the initial i is short as in Kim, as is the final E as in Ken — Imogen is as pretty and classy as it is distinctive.
Description:Alexander is derived from the Greek name Aléxandros, composed of the elements aléxein, meaning “to defend,” and aner, meaning “man.” According to Greek legend, the first Alexander was Paris, who was given the nickname Alexander by the shepherds whose flocks he defended against robbers. He was followed by Alexander the Great, aka Alexander III, who conquered much of Asia.
Description:Olivia, a lovely Shakespearean name with an admirable balance of strength and femininity, is one of the top girls' names in the world. Like her sisters Isabella and Sophia, Olivia is a mega-popular name not only in the US but throughout the English-speaking countries, Europe, and Latin America.
Description:Audrey is one of the girls' names that have been rising due to their connection to Old Hollywood glamour—in this case the eternally chic and radiant Audrey Hepburn. Audrey has another very different appeal as one of the elite group of girl names that mean strong, brave, or powerful.
Description:Lucius is an old Roman clan name that has lots of religious and literary resonance, yet is still vital today. It was the name of three popes, appears in several Shakespeare plays, and, like all the names beginning with 'luc' relates to the Latin word for light.It was one of a limited number of forenames used in ancient Rome, and because of its meaning was often given to boys born at dawn.
Description:Caius is classical and serious but also has a simple, joyful quality. There was a third century pope named Caius, as well as an early Christian writer, several Shakespearean characters, and a Twilight vampire. We would pronounce the name to rhyme with eye-us though at Cambridge University in England, where it's the name of a college, it's pronounced keys.
Description:Lysander is a distinctive Greek name that could be thought of as a more creative cousin of Alexander. In ancient history, Lysander was the name of an esteemed Spartan naval commander and his literary cred comes from one of the two star-struck young men in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, as well as one of the twin sons (the other being Lorcan) of Luna Lovegood, whom we learn about in the Harry Potter epilogue.
Origin:English from Latin
Meaning:"youthful or sky father"
Description:One of the most romantic names, the lovely and stylish Juliet seems finally to have shaken off her limiting link to Romeo. In Shakespeare's play, it was Juliet who said "What's in a name?"
Origin:Latinate form of Helen, Greek
Meaning:"torch; shining light"
Description:Helena is a more delicate and dainty version of Helen, a favorite of Shakespeare, who used it in both All's Well That Ends Well and A Midsummer's Night Dream. Historically, Helena was the mother of Constantine the Great (and, supposedly, the daughter of Old King Cole), who became a fourth century saint--Evelyn Waugh wrote his only historical novel, Helena, based on her story.
Origin:Feminine variation of Emil, Latin
Description:Emilia is the feminine form of the Roman clan name Aemilius, which derived from the Latin aemulus, meaning "rival." In Shakespeare’s Othello, Emilia is the wife of Iago and confidante of Desdemona. Amelia, although homonymous, has a different root and meaning.
Meaning:"devotee of St. Colomba"
Description:Malcolm is a warm and welcoming Scottish appellation (originally Mael-Colium) that fits into that golden circle of names that are distinctive but not at all odd. A royal name in Scotland, Malcolm is also a hero name for many via radical civil rights activist Malcolm X.
Origin:Latin, from ancient place name Lavinium
Description:Lavinia is a charmingly prim and proper Victorian-sounding name which actually dates back to classical mythology, where it was the name of the wife of the Trojan hero Aeneas, who was considered the mother of the Roman people.
Origin:English from German
Description:Patrician to the core, Hugh was firmly in the Top 100 until 1903. It's never achieved those heights again, though it has always managed to remain in the Top 1000, scraping bottom at literally Number 1000 in 2006 before reversing course and heading back upwards.