Meaning and Name Origin
Basil \b(a)-sil\ as a boys' name is pronounced BAZ-el. It is of Greek origin, and the meaning of Basil is "royal, kingly". From the Greek name Basileios, derived from "basileus", meaning "king". Saint Basil (fourth century) of Caesarea was called "the Great" and regarded as one of the Fathers of the Eastern Church. Also the name of several early saints martyred in the East. Brought to England by the Crusaders, having been common in the eastern Mediterranean. More often used in Britain and Europe than in America. Also the name of a common herb. In Arabic, the name means "brave". British actor Basil Rathbone played Sherlock Holmes in 14 films in the 1940s.
Basil▼ has 23 variants: Basile, Basileios, Basilic, Basilides, Basilie, Basilio, Basilius, Bazeel, Bazeelius, Bazil, Bazyli, Vasile, Vasileos, Vasili, Vasilije, Vasilios, Vasilis, Vasilius, Vasilus, Vasily, Vassilij, Vassily and Wassily.
Basil is a somewhat prominent first name for males (#668 out of 1220, Top 55%) and an even more prominent last name for all people (#13855 out of 88799, Top 16%). (2000 U.S. Census)
Shown below is the birth name popularity of Basil for boys. Basil reached its apex rank of #312 in the U.S. during the years 1900-1909, but is not in the list at the moment. (Top 1000 Birth Names Records, 2014)