Do such things even exist? Attempts at searches turn up rather limited and uninformative sites dedicated to parental demographics, and that's not what I'm looking for.

Specifically, I'm looking for a database that has names, their current language, their language of origin, their current pronunciation (preferably in IPA), their spelling in a given language, and their etymology or at least latest meaning. A database that can be filtered by the various categories/criteria as needed.

If they do exist, should I perhaps search for them by some different term (I don't have a proper education in linguistics, so it's likely that my terminology is wildly off-base)? Alternatively, just being pointed to one such database (or a few) would also be helpful.

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    You mean something like behindthename.com (though they use phonetic respelling rather than IPA)? May 2, 2021 at 15:09
  • @JanusBahsJacquet Yeah, like that, but without being restricted to personal names (i.e. also suitable for researching family names, patronyms, matronyms, nicknames, and other types of names). Even so, thanks for pointing me in a direction of a good tool. May 2, 2021 at 16:13

1 Answer 1


The site Behind the Name collects sourced and reliable information on the etymology of names. Note that the site has two parts, an "official" database endorsed by the site owner, and a "contributed" database created by volunteer editors. The volunteer editors also strive for quality, but the contributed names are in general less trustworthy than the official part of that site.

There are also some language specific high quality sites, e.g., Nederlandse Voornamenbank for names used in the Netherlands (mainly Dutch and Frisian names).

EDIT: Another interesting resource is Dictionary of Medieval Names from European Sources, as the name tells restricted to a certain time period and geographic region, but still with solid etymologies.

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