Bernard (Bernhard) is a French and West Germanic masculine given name.[2] It is also a surname.

Stained glass St Bernard MNMA Cl3273.jpg
Pronunciationmainly UK: /ˈbɜːrnərd/ or /ˈbɜːrnəd/
mainly US: /bərˈnɑːrd/[1]
French: [bɛʁ.naʁ]
Dutch: [ˈbɛrnɑrt]
Word/nameWest Germanic
MeaningBrave as a bear
Region of originmedieval Europe
Other names
Related namesBernie, Barnard, Bernardas, Bearnárd, Bernardo, Beñat, Bernhard, Bernhardt, Bernd, Bernadetta, Bernadette, Berend, Pearu, Pääru

The name is attested from at least the 9th century. West Germanic Bernhard is composed from the two elements bern "bear" and hard "brave, hardy".[3] Its native Old English reflex was Beornheard, which was replaced by the French form Bernard that was brought to England after the Norman Conquest. The name Bernhard was notably popular among Old Frisian speakers.[4] Its wider use was popularized due to Saint Bernhard of Clairvaux (canonized in 1174). Bernard is the second most common surname in France.[5]

Geographical distributionEdit

As of 2014, 42.2% of all known bearers of the surname Bernard were residents of France (frequency 1:392), 12.5% of the United States (1:7,203), 7.0% of Haiti (1:382), 6.6% of Tanzania (1:1,961), 4.8% of Canada (1:1,896), 3.6% of Nigeria (1:12,221), 2.7% of Burundi (1:894), 1.9% of Belgium (1:1,500), 1.6% of Rwanda (1:1,745), 1.2% of Germany (1:16,397), 1.2% of Jamaica (1:595), 1.1% of Ghana (1:6,179), 1.0% of England (1:13,691) and 1.0% of Madagascar (1:6,098).

In France, the frequency of the surname was higher than national average (1:392) in the following regions:[6]

List of people with the nameEdit

The following people and items share the name Bernard.

Given nameEdit

Catholic saintsEdit




Fictional charactersEdit

Given nameEdit


  • Andy Bernard, character on the United States television series The Office

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Wells, John C. (2008). Longman Pronunciation Dictionary (3rd ed.). Longman. ISBN 978-1-4058-8118-0.
  2. ^ Albert Dauzat, Noms et prénoms de France, Librairie Larousse 1980. p. 38, New completed edition by Marie-Thérèse Morlet.
  3. ^ "Name Meaning and Origin". Retrieved 2013-06-16.. T. F. Hoad, English Etymology, Oxford University Press 1993. p. 36.
  4. ^ Die Kosenamen der Germanen: Eine Studie, Franz Stark, 1868 (German)
  5. ^ "🇫🇷 Most Common Last Names In France". Archived from the original on 2021-02-07.
  6. ^ Bernard surname distribution
  7. ^ Bernard (TV series)