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31 Bold & Romantic Baby Names From Arthurian Legend

From kings and queens to knights and fairies, these classic tales offer epic inspiration.

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If you love literature, mythology, and fairy tales, then you’re probably a fan of the legends of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. These stories have everything: adventure, romance, morals, comedy, tragedy, and oh-so-many great Arthurian legend baby names. Spanning centuries and media, from Medieval tomes to 21st century TV shows, the legends have a lot of characters to inspire you on your baby naming quest. Here are some unique names to get you started based on the heroes and supporting characters of the Arthurian universe.


Origin: uncertain; possibly Celtic

Meaning: “bear” or “bear king”

You sort of have to start with the man himself, right? Historians don’t actually know if he was based on a real person (most think probably not), but tales of his bravery and wisdom, from his utopian court at Camelot to his final resting place on the isle of Avalon, have inspired imagination for more than a thousand years. Even now, King Arthur represents goodness in a wicked world.


Origin: Welsh

Meaning: “white fairy”

The depiction of Arthur’s queen changes dramatically from text to text (remember, there’s no One Official Narrative here). In some, she is the daughter of Roman nobles; in others she is a Welsh princess. Sometimes she is portrayed as a woman deeply in love with her husband who dies of grief when she learns of his death; in others she carries on an illicit affair with his bravest knight and best friend. Some merge different elements of these stories: yes, she had an affair, but afterwards she spent the remainder of her life in a convent to make up for her misdeeds. Sometimes she’s gentle and kind and sometimes she’s vindictive and scheming. In short, Guinevere filled whatever role the author of a given work wanted.


Origin: uncertain; possibly Old French or Saxon

Meaning: “servant” or “proud one” respectively

Perhaps the best known of the Knights of the Round Table, Lancelot was an orphaned French prince raised by the fairies. Though prone to fits of madness, he was a brave warrior, close friend of Arthur’s, and the personal champion of Queen Guinevere, with whom he eventually carried on an ill-fated affair.


Origin: Welsh

Meaning: “sea-born”

Sometimes good, sometimes bad, always a force of nature.Shutterstock

Generally depicted as the older sister or half-sister of King Arthur, Morgan le Fay, sometimes called Morgana, is supernatural (sometimes a witch, sometimes a fairy) and powerful. Depending on the legend in question, she uses her magic, which she learned as an apprentice to Merlin, to heal or harm. Sometimes she is Arthur’s protector, other times she’s his arch-enemy. You could also go with “Fay” as a nod to this enigmatic character.


Origin: uncertain, possibly French, Welsh, or Celtic

Meaning: “blackbird,” “many names,” or “madman” respectively

Arthur’s savvy wizard-cum-political advisor, Merlin is often depicted as a man between worlds: the human lands and the fairy realm. (Sometimes he’s said to be supernatural himself, the son of a demon called an incubus and a mortal woman.) Depictions of Merlin totter between raving wild man and wise counselor and prophet.


Origin: Irish

Meaning: “Lady of the Lake”

The “Lady of the Lake” is an enchantress best known for giving Arthur Excalibur, his magic sword. Because there are so many different versions of these stories, there are lots great variations on this unique name, so you can have a lot of fun with this character, from the Irish Nimue (pronounced NEEM-way) to the French Ninianne to the Spanish Niviana and more.


Origin: Welsh

Meaning: “terrible”

Uther Pendragon not only had a rad last name, he was also the father of King Arthur. He’s generally depicted as great warrior and strong ruler but somewhat cruel man.


Origin: Britonnic

Meaning: “clanking swords of iron”

One of the most famous knights of the Round Table, Tristan was the nephew to the King of Cornwall tasked with escorting his uncle’s bride, the Princess Iseult, from Ireland. En route back to Cornwall, the pair accidentally drank a love potion (hate when that happens) and fall in love. Uh-oh! The two fall madly in love but their affair (usually) ends tragically.


Origin: Welsh

Meaning: “shining brow”

A bard among bards.Shutterstock

Unlike almost everyone else on this list, Taliesin was a real person. He was a bard who is said to have sung in the courts of three kings of Briton. His poetry survives to this day. He was so famous, in fact, that later tales mythologize him by putting him in the court of King Arthur himself. Alas, even if Arthur is based on a real person, Taliesin did not know him (Taliesin wrote in the sixth century and Arthur would have been dated to the fifth).


Origin: Uncertain, possibly German

Meaning: “ice ruler”

There are numerous variations on the spelling of this name – Iseult, Yseult, Iseut, Isóid, and Izolda among others – but this one, made most famous by the 19th century Wagner opera Tristan und Isolde is our favorite. Though married to King Mark of Cornwall, Isolde falls madly in love with his nephew, the brave knight Tristan. Depending on the source of the story, Tristan and Isolde either escape her husband and (with the help of Lancelot) go on further adventures or (more commonly) they die together, with Isolde begging Tristan to crush her in his dying embrace.


Origin: French

Meaning: “little moon”

Lunete is the handmaiden of Laudine or “the Lady of the Fountain,” the magical noblewoman who rules over an enchanted forest. She advises her lady to enter a political marriage with Sir Yvain shortly after the death of Laudine’s first husband, Escaldos the Red. Lunete is savvy and bright, and is described in Chrétien de Troyes's Yvain, or, The Knight with the Lion as "a charming brunette, prudent, clever and polite.”


Origin: Welsh

Meaning: “gentleness”

A knight of the Round Table, Gareth is a nephew of Arthur via his half-sister Morgause, the Queen of Orkney. Gareth is known for his chivalry, saving damsels, frequent use of disguises, and keeping the peace between feuding relatives. His nickname is “Beaumains” or “fair hands.”


Origin: French

Meaning: “shining light”

You know how when you were little there were, like, 14 Jennifers or Ashleys in your class? Think of Elaine as the Jennifer of Arthurian legends; there’s about half a dozen of them. There’s Elaine of Astolat, the Lady of Shalott; Elaine of Benoic; Elaine of Corbenic (wife of Lancelot and mother of Galahad); Elaine of Garlot; Elaine of Listenoise; Elaine the Peerless. Just a whole lot of Elaines.


Origin: Latin


There are actually a whole bunch of Constantines in Arthurian legend, and all of them are forebears of Arthur and his father, Uther. As the Latinate name indicates, these men were from Roman stock; Constantine II was a soldier who later declared himself King of Britain. Arthur is also said to have been succeeded by a Constantine, a cousin.


Origin: Welsh

Meaning:“maiden, chaste”

What are the odds of there being another “Igraine” in her class...?Shutterstock

The mother of King Arthur, Igraine was married to Gorlois, the Duke of Cornwall, and had three children (Elaine, Morgause, and Morgan le Fay). When Uther Pendragon took one look at this woman, “whose beauty surpassed that of all the women of Britain,” he plotted with Merlin to disguise himself as her husband in order to seduce her. This machination results in her pregnancy with Arthur.


Origin: Greek

Meaning: “holdfast”

Hector de Maris (or Hector of the Fens) was the half-brother of Lancelot. He goes on many adventures with his older brother including the most famous Arthurian quest of them all: the search for the Holy Grail.


Origin: Welsh

Meaning: “gentleness”

A knight of the Round Table, Gareth is a nephew of Arthur via his half-sister Morgause, the Queen of Orkney. Gareth is known for his chivalry, saving damsels, frequent use of disguises, and keeping the peace between feuding relatives. His nickname is “Beaumains” or “fair hands.”


Origin: Greek

Meaning: “pure”

Sir Kay is the older foster brother of King Arthur (you may remember him as the loutish fellow from The Sword in the Stone). An early figure of Arthurian legend, Kay isn’t a nice guy – he’s known for his quick temper and sharp tongue – but he’s a brave and fierce warrior who ultimately serves as a seneschal to the King.


Origin: Latin

Meaning: “heavenly”

Also spelled “Caelia” is the Queen of the Fairies, a realm populated by women who have killed their warmongering men which... is one way to go about things... She is the mother of the dreaded Faeirie Knight.


Origin: unknown, probably Breton

Meaning: unknown

This knight’s story comes to us from the Lais of Marie de France. After being overlooked by Arthur, Lanval falls in love with a fairy woman. When Queen Guinevere tries to seduce him, he rejects her advances for love of his mistress, causing the queen to accuse him of being gay (a punishable offense). Just when all seems lost, his fairy love comes to speak on his behalf before taking him away with her to Avalon.


Origin: unknown

Meaning: unknown

Now with not one but two swords.Shutterstock

Also known as the Knight with Two Swords, Sir Balin the Savage is a contemporary of Arthur’s early in the King’s reign. After winning an enchanted sword from an enchantress, Balin is warned that the weapon will be his downfall and, indeed, with it he inadvertently slays his own brother, Balan.


Origin: French

Meaning: “lively”

Another name for the Lady of the Lake. This is a great option for people who want a Arthurian legend name but want something that’s a bit more accessible than Old English or Welsh can offer...


Origin: French

Meaning: “young lion”

A knight of the Round Table who proves himself with mighty and noble deeds, including accompanying his cousin Lancelot in his search for the Holy Grail.


Origin: Welsh

Meaning: “well-born,” “yew”

One of the other figures known to be based on an actual person, Owain (also called Ywain and Yvain) was the son of the Welsh king Urien. He is mythologized in Arthurian legend as a brave knight who went on many adventures and married the magical Laudine, the Lady of the Fountain.


Origin: French

Meaning: “lioness”

Lyonesse is a noblewoman who is captured by the Black Knight. Her sister Lynette comes to King Arthur’s court to beg for a champion. She is presented with Sir Gareth (disguised as a kitchen worker), who ultimately rescues the Dame Lyonesse and marries her.


Origin: Unknown

Meaning: possibly feminine form of Evan, meaning “God is gracious”

A fun twist on the more common Elaine.Shutterstock

Aunt of Lancelot and sister of Lancelot’s mother, Elaine. Fun fact about names in Arthurian legend: there’s lots of “sibsets” that are slightly comical to modern sensibilities: Morgan and Morgeuse, Balan and Balin, Evain and Elaine, and Lyonesse and Lynette just to name a few...


Origin: Aramaic

Meaning: “twin”

There are two main Toms in Arthurian legend: Tom a Lincoln, an illegitmate son of King Arthur and Tom Thumb, a tiny man created by Merlin who becomes an honorary knight. Tom Thumb is said to have been based on an actual man who lived in the 16th century.


Origin: Old French

Meaning: “through the valley”

Known as Peredur in Welsh (another good, unique name, TBH) is one of the knights of the Round Table best known for his quest for the Holy Grail.


Origin: Latin

Meaning: “messenger of God”

A lover of King Arthur and mother of Tom a Lincoln. Whereas most of the names on this list come from Medieval sources, the Toms and Angelica come from from 17th century sources.


Origin: unknown

Meaning: unknown

Sometimes depicted as the sister of Sir Percival, Dindrane (sometimes called Heliabel) aids the knights of the Round Table on their quest for the Holy Grail. In fact, she lives in a castle protecting the Grail with other beautiful maidens. If you’ve ever seen Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Dindrane is likely the inspiration for Zoot and/or her identical twin sister, Dingo, who live in the Castle Anthrax (“It’s not a very good name, is it?”) with their Grail-shaped beacon.


Origin: Old English

Meaning: “brown”

Feel free to add your own sobriquet...Shutterstock

Brunor (also called Bruin and Branor) can be considered a correlary to “Elaine” in that there are a whole bunch of them in Arthurian legends. There’s Sir Brunor le Noir, La Cote Mal Taile (“the badly torn coat,” a derisive nickname from Sir Kay); Branor le Brun, the Dragon Knight; and Brunor the Black, the Good Knight Without Fear.

There are many more names from Arthurian legend – there are, after all, a lot of legends – but this is a good place to start.

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