Male names in the British Isles have a number of different origins, which accounts for the vast differences in sound and spelling between various names. Although some names wax and wane in terms of popularity, others have stood the test of time. Most British male names share one of four cultural origins, representing Britain's diverse past.
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Gaelic and Brethonic
The oldest British male names still in common usage come from the people who inhabited the British Isles over two thousand years ago; before, during and after the Roman invasion. Some of the names they gave their sons have come down to us. These include Alfred (originally meaning "one with supernatural counsel"), Perry (originally a Welsh surname) and Malcolm (from the Scots Gaelic for "disciple of Saint Columba").
Many British male names are sourced from the Bible and other ancient texts. Names such as Daniel, which is Hebrew for "God is my judge", and Adam, which is simply Hebrew for "man", share Biblical roots. This use of Biblical names has, of course, been common throughout Christendom for centuries.
Following the Roman invasion and the subsequent migration of Gothic tribes into traditional Geman territory, Britain was invaded by a number of different Frankish and Germanic tribes; all of whom brought their own names, such as Richard (meaning "one of strong judgement" in Old Frankish), Geoffrey (which is Old German for "peace") and Charles (an Old German term for a freeman).
Although many Ancient Roman names have long since fallen from favour in Britain, some have stood the test of time. Names such as Paul, from the latin word "Paulus" (meaning "humble") and Mark, a derivative of "Mars" (the Roman god of war) via "Marcus," are still popular today. Although somewhat less popular now, the name Marcus is also still in use as a British male name.
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