Given name

A given name (also known as a forename or first name) is the part of a personal name[1] that identifies a person, potentially with a middle name as well, and differentiates that person from the other members of a group (typically a family or clan) who have a common surname. The term given name refers to a name usually bestowed at or close to the time of birth, usually by the parents of the newborn. A Christian name is the first name which is given at baptism, in Christian custom.

Diagram of naming conventions, using John F. Kennedy as an example. "First names" can also be called given names or forenames; "last names" can also be called family names or surnames. This shows a structure typical for English-speaking cultures (and some others). Other cultures use other structures for full names.
The sarcophagus of Queen Desideria at Riddarholm Church in Sweden. The name was given to Désirée Clary not at birth but when she was elected Crown Princess of Sweden in 1810.

In informal situations, given names are often used in a familiar and friendly manner.[1] In more formal situations, a person's surname is more commonly used. The idioms 'on a first-name basis' and 'being on first-name terms' refer to the familiarity inherent in addressing someone by their given name.[1]

By contrast, a surname (also known as a family name, last name, or gentile name) is normally inherited and shared with other members of one's immediate family.[2] Regnal names and religious or monastic names are special given names bestowed upon someone receiving a crown or entering a religious order; such a person then typically becomes known chiefly by that name.


Share this article:

This article uses material from the Wikipedia article Given name, and is written by contributors. Text is available under a CC BY-SA 4.0 International License; additional terms may apply. Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.