Basil (name)

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Pronunciation /ˈbæzəl/ BAZ-əl, /ˈbɑːsəl/ BAH-səl
Word/name Greek, Arabic
Meaning "royal, kingly, brave, valiant, chivalrous" in Greek; "brave, fearless, intrepid" in Arabic

The name Basil (royal, kingly) comes from the male Greek name Vassilios (Greek: Βασίλειος, female version Bασιλική), which first appeared during the Hellenistic period. It is derived from "basileus" (Greek: βασιλεύς), a Greek word of pre-Hellenic origin meaning "king", from which words such as basilica and basilisk (via Latin) as well as the eponymous herb (via Old French) derive, and the name of the Italian region Basilicata, which had been long under the rule of the Byzantine Emperor (also called basileus).

It was brought to England by the Crusaders, having been common in the eastern Mediterranean. It is more often used in Britain and Europe than in the US and is also the name of a common herb.

In Arabic, Bas(s)el (باسل, bāsil) is a name for boys that means "brave, fearless, intrepid".[1] It is derived from the B-S-L root.[2]

Different derived names in different languages include Barsegh in Armenian; Basile in French; Basilius in German; Basilio in Italian and Spanish; Basileo in Galician; Vasyl in Ukraine; Vasile in Romanian; Vasil in Bulgarian; Vasilije in Serbian; Vasily in Russian; Bazil, Bazsó, Vászoly and Vazul in Hungarian.

"Basil" has over 50 variants,[3] among them being: Bacile, Bas(s)el, Basley,[4] Baseley,[4] Bas(s)il(l),[4] Basilic, Basilides, Basileios, Basileo, Basile, Basilie, Basilio, Basilius, Basilone,[3] Bazeel, Bazeelius, Bazley,[4] Bazeley,[3][4] Bazell,[4] Bazelle,[3][4] Bazil, Bazyli, Breasal, Pasi,[5] Vasil, Vasyl, Vasile,[3] Vaseleos, Vasilchenko,[3] Vasileos, Vasilije, Vasilj, Vasko, Vasa, Vaso, Vasović,[3] Vas(s)ilios, Vasileios, Vasilius, Vasilus, Vassilis, Vasili, Vassili, Vasiliy, Vassilij, Vassily, Wassily, and Wasilewski.[3]

Basil may refer to the following people:



Religious figures[edit]

  • Basil of Caesarea (330-379), also known as Saint Basil the Great, a 4th-century bishop of Caesarea
  • Basil the Elder, father of Basil the Great and saint of the Eastern Orthodox Church
  • Basil of Ancyra (died 362), a 4th-century martyr
  • Basil of Amasea, a fourth-century Christian bishop and martyr
  • Basil Fool for Christ (born 1468 or 1469, died 1552 or 1557), a Russian saint
  • Basil of Ostrog (1610-1671), bishop and saint of the Eastern Orthodox Church
  • Basil the Physician (died 1118), Bogomil leader burned at the stake as a heretic
  • Basil of Seleucia (died probably between 458 and 460), a metropolitan bishop of Seleucia ad Calycadnum
  • Basil the Confessor (died 750), Eastern Orthodox saint
  • Basil Hopko (1904-1976), bishop of the Slovak Greek Catholic Church and martyr
  • Basil Hume (1923-1999), English Roman Catholic cardinal and Archbishop of Westminster
  • Basil Moreau (1799-1873), French Roman Catholic priest who founded the Congregation of Holy Cross and was beatified
variant Basilides
  • Basilides (2nd century AD), Egyptian Gnostic religious teacher

First name[edit]

variant Bassel


  • Steve Basil (1893–1962), American baseball umpire
  • Toni Basil (b. 1943), American musician, video artist, actress, and choreographer
  • Richard Basil (b. 1967), American former college football coach
variant Bacile
variant Baseley
variant Basile
variant Basilio
variant Basilius
  • Basilius is a Greek nobility title and names bearing this title are excluded here
  • István Basilius (1549–1581), Hungarian Unitarian minister
variant Basilone
  • John Basilone (1916–1945), American soldier, recipient of the Medal of Honor
variant Bassil
  • Gebran Bassil (b. 1970), Lebanese politician
  • Philip S. Bassil (b. 1976) Lebanese-Canadian Investment Banker and financier
  • Ray Bassil (b. 1988), Lebanese athlete
variant Bazeley
variant Bazell
variant Bazil
variant Bazley
variant Pasi
variant Vasil (excluding Vasil')
variant Vasilchenko

see Vasilchenko

variant Vasile
variant Vasili
variant Vasilj
variant Vasko (excluding Vaskó and Vaško)
variant Vasović
variant Vassili
variant Wasilewski

Fictional characters[edit]


  1. ^ Wehr, Hans (1979). Cowan, J. Milton, ed. A Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic. p. 73.
  2. ^ "Basel". QuranClub. Retrieved 23 May 2015.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h "Last Name: Basil". The Internet Surname Database. Retrieved 23 May 2015.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Reaney, PH; Wilson, RM (1991). A Dictionary of English Surnames (reprint). Psychology Press. p. 198. ISBN 9780415057370 – via Google Books.
  5. ^ "Pasi". Behind the Name. Retrieved 23 May 2015.

External links[edit]