The Canterbury Tales

A list of names from Chaucer's famous tale. This list includes the pilgrims and the characters in their stories.
  1. Absalon
    • Alan
      • Origin:

        Irish
      • Meaning:

        "handsome, cheerful"
      • Description:

        In its three most popular spellings -- Alan along with Allen and Allan -- this midcentury favorite has tended to skew older. It was a Top 100 name from 1938 to 1971, peaking at Number 40 in 1951. Alan has had leading roles on recent TV, in shows like Two and a Half Men, 24 and Boston Legal.
    • Alison
      • Origin:

        Norman French, diminutive of Alice
      • Meaning:

        "noble"
      • Description:

        Alison has been long popular in Scotland and widely used here since the fifties. This more feminine medieval elaboration of Alice had long surpassed the original in popularity, but now sounds a tad dated in the U.S., with Alice having leapfrogged back over Alison, Allison, Alicia and other variations.
    • Alisoun
      • Aurelius
        • Origin:

          Latin
        • Meaning:

          "the golden one"
        • Description:

          Since Aurelius was given the supermodel seal of approval by Elle Macpherson, this is one of the Roman emperor names, like Augustus, now in the realm of possibility. Like the female Aurelia and Aurora, Aurelius has a particularly warm golden aura.
      • Alla
        • Appius
          • Arcite
            • Arveragus
              • Bailey
                • Origin:

                  English occupational name
                • Meaning:

                  "law enforcer, bailiff"
                • Description:

                  Extremely amiable, open-sounding surname that's gradually being taken over by the girls.
              • Canace
                • Canon
                  • Origin:

                    English
                  • Meaning:

                    "clergyman, law, oeuvre"
                  • Description:

                    A variant of the surname Cannon, or an English word name with several possible meanings. A canon is a clergyman, as well as a rule or law – especially within religious doctrine. In the arts, canon is also the name of the whole oeuvre or work of a particular writer or creator.
                • Cecilia
                  • Origin:

                    Feminine form of Cecil, Latin
                  • Meaning:

                    "blind"
                  • Description:

                    Cecilia is a lovely classic name deservedly enjoying a new turn in the sun. Always among the Top 500 girls' names in the US, Cecilia is now at its highest point ever.
                • Claudius
                  • Origin:

                    Latin
                  • Meaning:

                    "lame; enclosure"
                  • Description:

                    Claudius is one of the most user-friendly of the ancient Roman names – even though it's associated with the villainous character in Shakespeare's Hamlet. But as with feminine form Claudia, the "lame" meaning may stymie the rise of Claudius. Some etymologists theorize that the name may relate to the word for enclosure or clause, an alternate meaning that may appeal to a child with a form of this otherwise-appealing name.
                • Constance
                  • Origin:

                    English version of Latin Constantia
                  • Meaning:

                    "steadfastness"
                  • Description:

                    Constance is one of the more subtle of the virtue baby names, but still has quite a prim and proper image. One impediment to its revival has been the decidedly dated nickname Connie, though modern parents might well opt for using the strong and dignified name in full.
                • Chaunticleer
                  • Damian
                    • Origin:

                      Greek
                    • Meaning:

                      "to tame, subdue"
                    • Description:

                      Damian has sidestepped its demonic horror movie overtones, leaving a basically friendly and charming Irish image. A well-used upper-class name in England, it is growing in popularity here.
                  • Donegild
                    • Dorigen
                      • Eglantine
                        • Origin:

                          French botanical name
                        • Description:

                          This name for the sweetbriar shrub is a bit too reminiscent of eggplant.