ADALAI: From the Hebrew for "refuge of God" and Arabic for "just." A strong but seldom-used name. Namesake: Adlai Stevenson.
ADLER: German for "eagle." More common as a last name, it makes an impresive first name, too. Namesakes: Mortimer Adler.
ADOLPH: German for "noble wolf." For obvious reasons, its post-World War II use has been limited. Adolphus is a possibility, with Dolph the preferred nickname. Relatives: Adolf, Adolphe, Adolphus, Adolfus. Namesake: Adophe Menjou.
ADRIAN: A variation of "Hadrian," Greek for "rich" and Latin for "dark one." Very popular among popes. Sylvester Stallone gave it a seemingly permanent prefix with the line "Yo, Adrienne" in the ROCKY movies. Relatives: Adrien, Adrienne, Adria, Adrea, Adriana, Adrianna, Adrie, Hadrian. Namesake: Adrienne Rich.
AGATHA: Greek for "good." Agatha was a thrid-century saint. The French spelling. Agethe, livens this one up, but may present pronunciation problems. Relatives: Agathe, Agace, Aggie, Aggy. Namesake: Agatha Christie.
AGNES: Latin for "lamb." Agnes was an extremely popular saint in the third century. John Keats wrote a very sensual poem of the same name in the nineteenth century. Relatives: Agnese, Agnesa, Aggie, Aggy, Agenta, Inez, Ines, Nessa, Neza, Ynes, Ynez. Namesakes: Saint Agnes, Agnes de Mille, Agnes Moorehead, AGNES OF GOD.
AHAB: From the Hebrew for "uncle." Both a kind of Isreal and the hunter of Moby Dick had this name. Namesake: "Ahab the Arab."
AIDA: Old English for "joyful." A grand opera by Verdi; the elephants come on stage for this one. Namesake: Princess of Ethiopia held captive in Egypt.