Germanic name

Germanic given names are traditionally dithematic; that is, they are formed from two elements, by joining a prefix and a suffix. For example, King Æþelred's name was derived from æþele, for "noble", and ræd, for "counsel".

However, there are also names dating from an early time which seem to be monothematic, consisting only of a single element. These are sometimes explained as hypocorisms, short forms of originally dithematic names, but in many cases the etymology of the supposed original name cannot be recovered.[1]

The oldest known Germanic names date to the Roman Empire period, such as those of Arminius and his wife Thusnelda in the 1st century[AD?], and in greater frequency, especially Gothic names, in the late Roman Empire, in the 4th to 5th centuries (the Germanic Heroic Age).[2]

A great variety of names are attested from the medieval period, falling into the rough categories of Scandinavian (Old Norse), Anglo-Saxon (Old English), continental (Frankish, Old High German and Low German), and East Germanic (see Gothic names[3]) forms.

By the High Middle Ages, many of these names had undergone numerous sound changes and/or were abbreviated, so that their derivation is not always clear.

Of the large number of medieval Germanic names, a comparatively small set remains in common use today. In modern times, the most frequent name of Germanic origin in the English-speaking world has traditionally been William (from an Old High German Willahelm), followed by Robert and Charles (Carl, after Charlemagne).

Many native English (Anglo-Saxon) names fell into disuse in the later Middle Ages, but experienced a revival in the Victorian era; some of these are Edward, Edwin, Edmund, Edgar, Alfred, Oswald and Harold for males; the female names Mildred and Winifred also continue to be used in present day, Audrey continues the Anglo-Norman (French) form of the Anglo-Saxon Æðelþryð, while the name Godiva is a Latin form of Godgifu. Some names, like Howard and Ronald, are thought to originate from multiple Germanic languages, including Anglo-Saxon.

Dithematic namesEdit

Element Meaning Prefix Suffix Examples Notes
act, aht, oht fearsome(?)  Y Ohthere, Ohtrad, Actumerus, Octric, Actulf; Actohildis, Octolindis Pokorny[4] suggests rather the root of OHG āhta `hostile pursuit', Germ.. Acht, OE. ōht 'pursuit, harassment'[5]< *anhtō, in OE conflated with ōht 'terror', from the preterite of ag- "fear".[6] These represent perhaps two or more roots which are indistinguishable without
*agi-; eg, ecg, egg, ekk, agin, egin sword, blade  Y Egbert, Ecgbald, Eggert, Ecgwine, Ekkehart, Ecgric, Eginolf; Ecgwynn, Egon Some names in ag-, eg- may be unrelated in origin; see Förstemann, 9.
agil, ail, eil dread or weapon edge  Y Agilperht, Agilfrid, Agilulf, Egilger, Agilmar/Ilmar/Elmar, Egil, Egilrat; Alruna, Agilburgis, Uncertain etymology; like agin perhaps a hypostatis of the older ag-; Förstemann, 22. See Agilaz.
ala all  Y Alafrid, Alager, Alamunt, Alarad, Alaric, Alaruna, Alasuind Some names in ala- have this etymology; others are corruptions of names in aþal-. Förstemann, 39.
ald, eald old  Y [7] Altopold, Altiperht, Aldfrid/Aldfrith, Aldegar, Aldman, Ealdred/Aldred, Aldwig, Aldwin/Audoin/Alduin, Ealdwulf/Aldwulf; Aldedrudis, Aldeberga/Aldburg, Aldigart, Altagund, Aldelindis, Aldis
*albi-; ælf, elf, alf elf  Y [8] Ælfwine, Ælfric, Alfred, Ælfweard, Ælfsige;[9] Ælfflæd, Ælfwaru, Ælfwynn
*alh, alah, ealh hall, temple  Y Ealhhelm, Ealhmund/Alcmund, Alhred, Ealhwine/Alcuin; Ealhswith, Ælgifu(?)[10] Perhaps related to runic alu
amala work(?)  Y Amaleberga, Amalafrida, Amalrica, Amalaswintha/Melisende/Millicent c.f. Amalia, Amelie. This element's etymology is uncertain, but it is frequently compared to Old Norse aml "work".
angil, engel; ingal/ingel a tribal name  Y Angilbald, Angilberht/Engelbert, Engilfrit, Angalgar, Angilhelm/Ingelhelm, Engilhoh; (Ingalberta), Angilburga, Angildruda, Engilgund Names in angil- may arise with Christianization, by conflation with the prefix ingal-, an extension of the theophoric ing- prefix; see Förstemann, 89.
*aþal-, adall, æthel noble  Y Æthelhard, Æthelred, Adolf/Æthelwulf, Alphonse, Albert/Adelbert, Adelbrand/Alebrand, Æthelburh, Adelaide, Æthelstan, Æthelflæd, Adalsinda, Adelmar, Æthelthryth/Audrey, Aðils, Æthelgifu see ethel, odal,
*anô-, ON anu or ái, OHG ano ancestor  Y (?) Olaf Hypocorisms Ole, Åke/Åge
*ans-, ON ás, OHG ans, AS os god  Y Oscar, Oswin, Oswald/Ansaldo, Ansgar, Anselm, Ansleth, Ásleikr/Anslech/Oslac,[11] Ansfridus, Anshelmus/Anselm, Ansgisus, Ansbrecht, Answald; Osburh, Osgyth, Osthryth
ar, ara, ari, arni, earn eagle  Y Arafrid, Aramund, Arswind, Arfrid, Arnipert, Arnold, Arnulf, Arvid Many of these names cannot be distinguished with certainty from the corresponding name in hari-.
arb, erb, erf inheritance  Y [12] Arbogastis, Erbhart, Erphari, Erpolach, Erflind, Erbemar, Erpmund, Erferat, Erferih, Erpwin, Erpulf Hypocorisms Aribo, Erbo
asc, æsc ash, spear (made of ash tree)  Y Askold, Aschari, Asclind, Ascarich, Ascwin, Asculf c.f. Oisc, Ask
*audaz, aud, od, euþ, auþ, euth, ead, eod, jóð wealth, prosperity  Y Audeca, Audofleda, Auduin, Odotheus, Audovacar/Odoacer, Odomir/Otmar/Ottomar/Othmar/Ademar, Edgar/Audagar/Ottokar, Edmund, Eadnoth, Eadred/Edred, Edward, Eadwig, Eadwulf, Edwin, Eadgifu, Edith. Eadgils (etc.) Extremely frequent. c.f. also Ethel, Otto, Odda, Auðr
aun, on, ean ?  Y Eanhere, Aunefrit/Eanfrith, Aunemund, Onerich, Aunulf; Eanflæd Possibly "one" due to vowel being pronounced farther back in the mouth. At the time, and given those bearing the name, slowly becoming Old English "an", meaning "one'. But officially the etymology is unknown; see Förstemann, 181.
aus, aust, eost radiant; a goddess  Y Auripert, Aurendil/Orendil/Aurvandil, Aurulf; Ostheri, Austrad, Austrobert, Austraberta, Ostarpurc, Aostarger, Aostargart, Austrigisil, Ostarhilt, Ostremund, Austrad, Australd, Ostruin, Austrulf Possibly theophoric, see Eostre, Aurvandil
bald bold  Y  Y Baldwin; Theobald, Ubaldo, etc. Very frequent, and often conflated with the wald element.
band band, loop  Y ? Pandulf/Pandolfo
baud, bad, bud, badu, beadu, both battle?  Y  Y Baudigisil, Baudegund, Baudemund, Baudulf, Beadohild, Beaduhelm, Beaduwine, Bothvildr Uncertain etymology; mostly in old names (before the 8th century) Förstemann, 216f. In later use indistinguishable from bald
baug ring  Y Baugegundus, Bauglind, Baugulf
*berht-; beraht, bryht, briht bright  Y  Y Byrhtnoth, Bertrand, Bertram, Bertold/Berthold, Beorhtric, Bertrude, Brihtwyn; Cuthbert, Aribert, Albert/Albright/Adelbert, Rigobert, Robert/Rupert, Herbert, Humbert, Hubert, Norbert, Wilbert, Delbert/Dagobert, Engelbert, Egbert, Lambert, Sindbert, Bertstan, Lubbert, Ludbert, Wolfbert hypocorism Bert. One of the most frequent elements, but not attested before the 6th century.
burg, beorg fortress  Y  Y Burchard/Burkhart, Burgred; Cuthburh, Eadburh, Æthelburh, Osburh, Redburga, Seaxburh, Walpurga, Werburgh The suffix is feminine only. See also Burke
bera, bern, berin, beorn bear  Y Berengar, Berahart/Bernhard, Berhildis, Berahoch, Bermar, Berimund, Beornwulf cf. Beonna, Berig
bil blade, sword  Y Biligrim,[13] Bilihelm, Bilihild, Billfrith, Belimar, Bilidruda, Pilolf among the Saxons often monothematic, as Bilo, Pilicho, Pillin, Billung
blic lightning  Y Blictrud, Blicger, Blicgart, Plechelm, Blicildis
blid blithe  Y Bliddruda, Bllithar, Blithelm, Blidhild, Blidmar, Blidulf, Blidemund, Plittelmi
bord shield  Y Herebord, Hiltiport, Saelbort, Willipord
brand sword  Y  Y Branthildis, Branthoc, Brandulf; Adelbrand, Gerbrand, Hildebrand, Hadubrand, IJsbrand, Theudebrand cf. Brant. Attested from the 7th century, with the exception of Gothic Brandila
brun armour, protection; brown  Y Brunfrid, Brunger, Brunric, Brunward, Brunulf/Brynolf/Brunolf/Brynjolfr/Brunulphe; Brunhild; Adalbrun, Hiltibrun, Liefbrun, Liutbrun. The words for "armour" and for "brown" are unrelated, but a distinction of these two elements is impossible.
dag, tag day  Y  Y Tagapald/Dacbold, Dagaperht/Dagobert, Tachiprand, Dagafrid, Dachelm, Tagarat/Dagred, Dagaric, Dagewin, Dagaulf; Alfdag, Osdag, Heridag, Helmdag, Hildidag, Hroddag, Wendildag, Wulfdag, Possibly a conflation of several roots, perhaps brightness, day, and a loan of Celtic dago "good".
dis, idis lady  Y  Y Dissibod, Disnot Names with this prefix are probably theophoric. In Nordic feminine names with the suffix -dis, the meaning is "woman".
diur, deor animal  Y Deurtrudis, Thiurhilt, Deorold, Deorulf The meaning of this element may be either "animal" (deer) or "dear". See also Deor.
dom judgement (doom)  Y ?[14] Dombert, Domedrudis, Domegerdis, Domalde, Duomolf
druht, droc, druc people  Y Droctbold, Drocberta, Drutberga, Drucfred, Druhtgang, Truhthari, Droctelm, Dructildis, Druhtmar, Dructimund, Dructuin, Dructulf
ebur, eber, eofor boar  Y Eparpert/Everbert, Eureberga, Euurdag, Ebertrudis, Eparfrid, Eberger, Eberhard/Eoforheard/Everard/Everett, Ebarhelm, Eburhilt, Ebirmuot, Ebermunt, Ebarolt, Eberwin/Ebroin, Eberulf, Eboric
era, eri, erin, ern honour  Y Erarich, Eranbald, Erambert, Ernulf Probably a genuine element, but difficult to distinguish from hari, which is also often reduced to eri-, er-, or from ari, arni. The form erin-, on the other hand, is often conflated with the irm- element.
ercan, erchen, archen, eorcen pure, genuine[15]  Y Ercanberaht/Eorcenberht, Ercanbold/Archibald, Ercamberta, Ercanpurh, Ercantrud, Ercanfrid, Ercangar, Ercanhilt, Erchensinda, Erchinoald/Erchanold, Archanolf/Erchenulf Förstemann, 377 connects OGH ercan "sublime, pure, holy" (the general sense in Gothic as well). In OE and ON used in compounds designating various "precious" stones. Perhaps theophoric, from a name of Teiwaz.[16]
erl, eorl warrior, noble  Y Erlabald/Erlembald, Erlefrida, Erligar, Erlemund, Erlwin, Erlulf Pokorny suggests a tentative link with ari-, arni- "eagle", an 'l' suffix form of which is found in the Balto-Slavic languages.
ewa, ew, eu, eo ever  Y Euin, Eubert, Eomar, Eumund, Ewirat, Eric, Eowig, Eolf
far, fara; fart, fard journey, travel  Y  Y Farabert, Faregar, Feriher, Farohildis, Ferlinda, Faraman, Faramod, Faramund, Faroald, Faruin, Faraulf, Farnulf; Farthilt, Fartman, Ferdinand,[17] Fardulf, ; Adalfer, Leobafar, Sicfara, Theudifara
fast firm, fast  Y Fastburg, Fastrada, Fastrih, Fastwin, Fastulf
fili much, many(?)  Y Filibert, Feologild?, Filuliub, Filomar, Filomuot
*friþu-; ON friþ, OHG fridu protection, peace  Y  Y Fredegar, Ferdinand,[17] Fredegund/Frithugyth, Friedrich/Frederick, Frithuwold; Billfrith, Dietfried, Ermenfrid, Godfried, Gottfried, Sigfrid/Siegfried, Walfrid/Walfried, Ecgfrida[18] In Old English, used almost exclusively for male names; Ecgfriþ is noted exception[18]
flad, flæð purity, glory, beauty  Y  Y Fladebert, Flatberta, Flatberga, Fladrudis, Fledrad, Flidulf; Albofledis/Ælfflæd, Ansfledis, Audofleda/Aethelflaed, Berhtflat, Burgofledis, Druhtflat, Ermenfleda, Gerflat, Gundiflat, Hrotflat, Ratflad, Sigiflat, Wynflæd The suffix is feminine only.
fram spear, javelin  Y Frambold, Frambert, Framsindis, Franemund, Franswinda Almost exclusively Frankish names
franc a tribal name  Y Francobert, Frangomere, Franchrih
fraw, fro, frea; fri lord  Y Frowin, Frawibald, Frawiprecht, Frawihilt, Frowimund, Frowini, Frauirat, Frawisinda, Freawaru; Friher, Frehild, Friulf c.f. Fróði; theophoric (see Fraujaz, Frijjō).
frig, freh bold  Y Frigobert, Frehholt, Friculf
frod wise, prudent  Y Frotbald, Frodobert, Frotfar, Frotfrid, Frodegard, Frothard, Frotland, Frotmir, Frotmund, Frodwin, Frodulf hypocorisms Frodo, Frutilo, Frodin
frum good, beneficial  Y Frumiger, Frumihilt, Frumirat, Frumirih, Frumold, Frumolf, Frumar
fulc, folc, volc people, folk  Y  Y Folcbald, Forlberaht/Volcbert, Fulcdag, Folhker/Folcger, Folchard, Fulchar/Volker, Volkhard, Fikcgzbm Folcleih, Fulclindis, Folcman, Folcmar/Volkmar, Folcnand, Fulcrad, Fulcrich, Folcswind, Fulcuald, Folcward, Folcwin, Fulculf; Heidifolc, Herifolch, Hrodfolc, Ratfolc, Sigifolc, Saelfolc
funs, fús eager, brave  Y Amdefuns, Adalfuns/Alphonse, Bernefons, Hadufuns, Sigifuns, Valafons
gail, gel gay, merry  Y Gelbold, Geilindis, Geilamir, Gailswindis, Geilwib, Geilwih, hypocorism Gailo, Geliko
gamal, gam old  Y Gamalbold, Gamalbert, Gamalberga, Gamaltrudis, Gamalfred, Gamalher, Camalrat,
gaman joy  Y Gamanhilt, Gamanolt, Gamanulf Only Old High German, rare
gan magic  Y  Y Gannibald, Ganefard, Ganhart ; Adalgan, Audiganus, Morgan, Wolfgan
gand, gend ?  Y  Y Gantberga, Gentfrid, Ganthar/Ganther, Gendrad, Gandaricus, Gandulf  ; Gredegand, Charigand, Hrodogand, Gislegendis Hypocorisms Gando, Gantalo, Gandin; cf. Gandalfr (mythological)
gang path, journey  Y  Y Gangperht, Gangolf; Bertegang, Druhtgang, Hildigang, Hrodegang, Thiotcanc, Uligang, Widugang, Wiligang, Wolfgang
gar, ger, earlier gais spear  Y  Y Gerald, Gerhard/Gerard, Gerbrand, Gerwin, German; Berengar, Edgar, Oscar, Hrothgar/Roger hypocorism Gero, Gerry. Very frequent both as prefix and as suffix. Gerðr is the wife of Freyr in Norse mythology.
gard enclosure  Y  Y Gardrad, Gardulf; Hildegard, Irmgard, Liutgart, Richardis, etc. Rare as a prefix, very frequent as a suffix. The great majority of names with this suffix are feminine.
gast guest; spirit  Y  Y Castald, Gestilind, Gestiliub, Gastrad; Altgast, Alpkast, Andragast, Arbogast, Cunigast, Hartigast, Hiltigast, Hungast, Lindigast, Milgast, Nebiogast, Salagast, Suabgast, Widogast, Visogast Mostly as suffix; frequent in early (3rd to 4th centuries) names; frequent conflation with Slavic names (Radegast, Gustaph).
gaud, gaut, gaus, got, goz a tribal name  Y  Y Gauzebald/Cozpolt/Gausbolda, Gaucibert/Gozperaht, Gauseprand, Gausburgis, Gauttrudis, Caozflat, Gautfred, Gozger, Gauter/Kozheri, Gautastabaz/Göstaf/Gösta/Gustav, Gautshelm, Gauthildis, Gozleih, Gautlindis, Gautrekr, Goswin/Gaudoin, Gaudulf; Algaut, Amalgaud, Ansegaud, Ariugaud, Ostgaus/Aostargaoz, Berengaud, Danegaud, Trutgaud, Ebregaud, Ercangaud, Erlegaud, Faregaud, Gisalgoz, Helmigaud, Hildegaud, Hohgaud, Hungoz, Irmegaus, Ermengaud, Teutgaud, Ulgaud, Waldegaud, Wihgoz, Vuldargoza. The tribal name of the Geats/Goths. Hypocorisms Gaudo, Gaudila, Gauzilin, Gaudin. These names are popular during the 6th to 11th centuries. The forms in got are difficult to distinguish from the element god "god".
geld, gild; gold worthy; gold, payment, yield  Y  Y Giltbert, Gelther, Gildemir, Giltrada, Geldirih, Goldrun, Geltwif, Geltwig, Gildewin, Geldulf; Amalgaldis, Ausigildis, Adalgildis, Athanagild, Beregildis, Bertegildis, Trutgildis, Faregildis, Framengildis, Fredegildis, Frotgiliis, Gislegildis, Herigilid, Hleokelt, Lantegildis, Rihgelt, Sparagildis, Teutgildis, Wandegildis, Witgildis, Wolfgelt, etc. Hypocorisms Gildo, Gilting, Coldin, Gilticho
gifu; geb, gib gift  Y  Y Gibbold, Gibborga, Gibitrudis, Giffrid, Gebhard, Gebaheri, Gibohildis, Gebahoh, Gebalinda, Geberad, Geberic, Gebawin, Gibulf; Ælgifu/Ælfgifu, Ælthelgifu/Eadgifu, Godgyfu/Godiva, Ottogeba, Thialgif, Willigip hypocorisms Gabilo, Gibilin, Gebi, Gabo, Gibicho, etc.
gisil, gisel hostage, pledge  Y Giselbert, Giselric, Giselhard; Giselberga Hypocorism Gisela, cf. Giselle
glis gleam  Y Glismot, Glisnot
god, got god; good  Y Godfrid/Godfrey, Godscalc, Gothard, Gotwald In most cases, the etymologies guda "deus" and goda "bonus" cannot be distinguished with certainty, while in older continental names this is often an alternative form of Gund
graus horror, terror  Y Crosmuat (8th century), Grausolph (9th century) simplex Grauso, Chroso, Cros, Kros, etc.;
graw, gra grey  Y Graobart, Grahilt (8th century), Graman (8th century), Graulf (8th century)
grim helmet, mask  Y  Y Grimwald, Grimoald, Grimhild/Krimhild/Kriemhild; Isegrim/Isengrim
guma man  Y Gomadrudis, Gomoharius, Gomahilt, Gomaleih, Gomlinda, Gumemar, Gumarich, Gumesind, Gumoalt, Gomolf
*gunþ-; gund, gud, gyþ, gyð battle, war  Y  Y Günther/Gunther/Gunter/Guntar/Gundar, Gundoald, Gundulf, Gunnhild, Gudrun; Eadgyð, Ealdgyð/Edith, Fredegund/Frithugyth, Sigith/Sigita, Hildegund/Hildegunn, Rigunth
hag, hagan; hah enclosure, yard  Y Hagibert, Hagihar, Hachirat, Hagoald, Hagiwolf; Hahger, Hahmund, Hahwart, Haholf Attested from the 7th century in forms such as Hago, Chaino etc. From an early time conflated with names in Ag-, Agin-. See also Haguna.
haid, heit rank, state  Y  Y Haidrich, Heidfolc, Chaideruna; Adelaide etc. Extremely frequent as second element in feminine names (83 listed by Förstemann), apparently due to early confusion with similar words for heath.
hail, heil; hailag whole, healthy  Y  Y Hailbert, Hailun, Hailburch, Hailtruda, Heilan, Heilmunt, Hailrat, Hailwin; Halagmund, Halegred, ; Rihheil, Sarahailo Hailo, Halicho (8th century); conflated with the elements agil and hal.
*haim-; OHG haim, heim, AS hæm home  Y Henry/Heinrich, Heimwart hypocorism Haimo
haist, heist furious, violent(?)  Y Haisthilt, Haistulf, Hailun c.f. Old English hæst; also compared with the tribal name of the Aesti.
hamar hammer  Y Hamerard, Hamarolf, Hamarbert Rare; limited to a handful of names of the 8th century.
hand hand(?)  Y Hantbert, Hantker, Handegis, Hantwin, Handolf Rare, 8th and 9th centuries.
harc altar(?)  Y Harcmot, Hercrat, Harchellindis (f.), Horcholt rare, 9th and 10th centuries; c.f. the entries under ercan.
hard, heard brave, hardy  Y  Y Hartman, Hartmut (etc.); Æthelhard, Richard, Gerhard, Gotthard, Bernard/Bernhard (etc.) Very frequent, recorded from as early as the 3rd century.
*hari, her army  Y  Y Diether, Luther, Hereweald/Harold, Herbert, Herleif, Herman/Arminius, Ariovistus, Ariouualdus hypocorism Harry, Walther; Heri(?). Very frequent, Förstemann lists 289 names with -hari as second element. As first element recorded as early as the 1st century (in Chariovalda), or possibly in the 1st century BC (Negau helmet B, Harigasti)
hath, had, hada, hadu battle, combat  Y  Y Hadubrand, Hadufuns, Hedwig; Rihhad, Willihad, Wolfhad, Vunnihad Frequent, from the 6th century, formally indistinguishable from haid.
hedan, haidan heathen, pagan  Y  Y Hedenold, Hedenulf ; Wolfhetan rare; 7th to 9th centuries.
helm protector  Y  Y Helmut, Helmdrud, Helmfrid; Diethelm, Ealhhelm, Anselm, Cwichelm, Nothhelm, Wilhelm/William Hypocorism Helmo. Comparatively frequent from the 6th century.
heah, hoch high  Y Heaberht, Hámundr cf. Huoching/Haki
hild- war  Y  Y Actohildis, Berhildis, Branthildis, Brunhild, Farohildis, Ermenhild/Imelda, Gauthildis/Gauthildr, Gerhild, Gibohildis, Grimhild/Krimhild/Kriemhild, Gunnhild, Matilda, Judelhildis, Landohildis, Nanthild, Richilda, Wanthildis; Childebert, Hildebrand, Hildegard, Hildegund/Hildegunn (etc.) One of the most frequently used stems both as prefix and as suffix, attested since the 3rd century. Among the Franks its use especially for feminine names is "almost excessive" according to Förstemann, who counts 281 names with this suffix, of which only four are masculine. Hypocorism Hilda.
hilp, help aid, help  Y Chilperic, Helpoald, Helpuin, Helpwolf rare; Chilperic is from the 5th century, other names with this element occur only in the 8th and 9th centuries.
*heltą, hilt, hilz, helz hilt  Y [19] Hilcekin, Helzuni, Helzolt rare; 8th to 11th centuries
himil heaven  Y Himildrud, Himilger, Himilrad rare, 8th to 10th centuries.
hir-/heru sword  Y Hiring, Hiribert, Hirburc, Hiriger, Hiriward 9th century; Gothic hairus, Anglo-Saxon heoro- "sword", also in the tribal name of the Cherusci.
hiruz, hiriz, herz hart, stag  Y Hirizpero, Herzrad(?); dim. Hirzula rare
hleo protection  Y Hleoperht, Hlevagastir
hlud, hloda fame  Y Hlothhere, Chlodwig/Ludwig/Louis, Ludolf, Lothar/Chlothar/Lothaire, Chlodomir; Chlodoswintha
hog, huog dexterous, nimble(?)  Y Huogobert, Huoging, Huogulf, Hogo
hol crafty, devious(?)  Y Holebert, Holomot, Holemund, Holosint
hord, hort hoard, treasure  Y Hortbert, Horthari, Hordold, Hordward, Horduin, Hordolf
hraban, hram raven  Y  Y Bertram, Wolfram frequent in the 7th to 9th centuries; surely from the ravens of Wodanaz originally (as was wulf-). Förestemann counts 125 masculine and 15 feminine with this suffix. The simplex Hraban (and variants) is recorded from the 6th century. The Gothic name Valarauans if it contains this root would be the oldest record of the element (4th century).
hrad quick, fast  Y (?)[20] Hradperaht, Hradpurh, Hradgast, Hrathari, Hradwin
hraid, hreid famous(?)  Y Hreiðmarr, Hreidperaht, Hreidgaer, Hreitolf, Hraidmund/Raymond also in the name of the Hreiðgoths.
hring, ring ring  Y (?)[21] Hringuni, Rhincbold, Ringhelm, Hringweald, Hringolf Förstemann 1900:877 suggests that the "ring" element in origin refers to ring-mail
hroc, roc rook (bird)  Y  Y Ferderuchus, Unhroch, Wolfhroc; Rocbert, Hrohhart, Hrocculf, Ruocswint, Berthroc Förstemann 1900:878f. surmises an early conflation of two elements (1) hrauc "roar, bellow, (battle-)cry" and (2) rōc "care, circumspection", and both were further conflated with hrōþ- as first element, and with -rih as second. As a second element since the 5th century. Crocus, the 4th-century king of the Alamanni, presumably had a name formed from this element, as did Rocco bishop of Autun (7th century) and Rocho bishop of Bourges (8th century).
hrom, hruom, rom glory, fame  Y Ruombald/Rumbold/Rombout, Rumbert, Ruumker, Hrumheri, Ruomlind, Romuald, Romulf since the 5th century; hypocorisms Ruom, Roma, Rumo. Förstemann 1900:883
*hrōþ-; hruot fame  Y  Y Hrothgar/Roger/Rüdiger, Hrodberht/Rupert/Robert, Hrodulf/Rudolph, Roderick, Roland, Rodney, Roald; Adalrod, Fridarut, Hartrod, Liutrod, Sigirod 8th century; hypocorisms Chrodius, Hrodo, Hrodio, Hroda; Förstemann 1900:883
hug, hyg spirit, courage  Y (  Y) Hugibald/Ubaldo, Hygelac/Hyglac, Hugubert/Hubert, Hugibrant, Hucger, Hugilind; Adalhug, Kerhuge
hun swelling; chip, block; offspring, (bear) cub; warrior  Y  Y Hunferthus, Humboldt, Hunbeorht/Humbert; Andhun, Berthun; Ælfhun c.f. Hun of East Anglia
ing a god  Y Inga, Ingeborg, Inger, Ingvar, Ingrid, Ingemar/Ingmar
irm(en), erm(en) strong, whole  Y Eormenred, Ermenrich/Hermeric/Emmerich/Emery/Amerigo; Ermendrud/Ermintrude/Irmtrud, Ermenfrid, Ermengarde/Ermegard/Irmgard, Ermengild/Hermenegild, Ermenhild/Imelda possibly theophoric, see Irminsul; hypocorisms Irma, Armin, Emma
ise(n) iron  Y  Y Isebert/Isebrecht, Isegrim/Isegrimm/Isengrim, Isenhart, IJsbrand Isegrim may in origin have been a kenning for "wolf".
jut- a tribal name  Y Judida, Judinga, Jutcar, Judilidis, Jutrad, Joduin, Judelhildis probably from the name of the Juthungi or the Jutes
jung young  Y Jungarat, Jungericus, Jungulf, Jugenprand 8th to 10th century, rare (used more rarely than ald- "old")
karl, carl, ceorl man  Y  Y Carlofred, Carlman; Altcarl, Gundecarl rare; possibly extensions from the simplex.
*kōni-; cen, coen fierce, keen  Y Conrad/Konrad, Cynric, Coenwulf
*kun(n)i-, OHG kuni, chun, also chim, chin, chind; AS cyne kingly, noble, kin, offspring, child  Y Kunibert, Kunimund, Cynewulf; Kunigunde, Cynegyth, Cynethryth, Cynewulf; Chindasvinth; Adelchind, Drudchind, Widukind, Willekind hypocorism Kuno, Chintila
*kunþ-; cuþ renowned  Y Cuthbert, Cuthred, Cuthwulf
kwik-; cwic alive, lively  Y Cwichelm
laik play, dance  Y  Y Ekkileich, Albleih, Amalleih, Ásleikr/Oslac, Audolecus, Perlaicus, Perahteih, Chinileihc, Dagaleich, Fridileih, Frotalaicus, Folcleih, Gozleih, Gundelaicus, Halulec, Hildelaicus, Hugilaih/Hyglac, Isanleih, Mathlec, Radleic, Sigelac, Wadelaicus, Walalaicho, Waldleich, Werinleih, Widolaic, Willileih, Winileih, Wolfleiga, Zitleich possibly as first element in Leikert, Leuckart; Laigobert
laif, laf, leib survivor, heir ( Y)  Y Eggileib, Albleib, Olaf, Oslef, Athulef, Adalleib, Otleib, Berahtleib, Dagalaif, Danleib, Dotleib, Truhtleib, Edilef, Fridaleib, Folkleib, Guntaleiba, Hartleib, Haduleif, Herleif, Hiltileip, Hordleif, Hunleib, Isanleib, Mahtleip, Nordleip, Ortlaip, Ratleib, Reginleib, Richleib, Sileif, Starcleib, Thiotleip, Wiglaf, Wineleib, Wolleip, Wulfleip, Wunnileif, Zehaleip; Leibuni/Leiboin, Leibher, Leibhilt, Leibrat, Leibwart the probable original meaning "heir of" suggests that this element at first appeared only as second element; it was from an early time it conflated with liub "dear". In Old Norse also used as a simplex, Leifr "heir".
laith dangerous, hostile  Y  Y Ansleth, Wolfleit; Leitbraht, Leitfrid, Leither, Leidmuot, Laidarat, Laidoin, Laidulf rare
land land  Y  Y Acland, Ingaland, Oslant, Osterlant, Auilant, Perelant, Perahtland, Cululant, Thruadland, Frotland, Gerland, Gotlanda, Grimland, Gundoland, Artaland, Hasland, Hiltiland, Hrodlant, Itislant, Inlant, Ermoland/Hermenland, Madoland, Meginland, Odallant, Ratland, Roland, Landon, Gagentland, Ricland, Sigilant, Wariland, Wiclant, Vulfland; Landolin, Landbold, Lambert/Landberta, Lampert, Landeberga, Lamprand, Lantbodo, Landfrid, Lampfrid, Landagar, Landegaus, Landgrim, Landegunda, Lantheida, Landohard, Lanthar, Landohildis, Landerich, Landswinda, Landoald, Landwih, Landuin, Landulf
laug bride(?)  Y Alblaug/Alflaug, Adallouc/Aðallaug, Ólaug, Árlaug, Arnlaug, Áslaug, Perahtlouc, Eyðleyg/Edlaug, Droplaug, Dýrlaug, Ellaug, Ercanloug, Fastlaug, FInnlaug, Fridlaug, Grímlaug, Gerlaug, Gundlauc/Gunnlaug, Heiðlaug, Hiltilauc, Hrafnlaug, Íslaug, Jerlaug, Kristlaug, Ratlauga, Róslaug, Sigilouc/Siglaug, Sollaug, Sturlaug, Swanaloug/Svanlaug, Sveinlaug, Týlaugr, Triulaug, Vélaug, Wiglauh/Víglaugr, Þórlaug, Þraslaug only as a suffix in feminine names; the suffix is presumably from a root *lug "to celebrate marriage; to be dedicated, promised (in marriage)"[22]
lind soft, mild, alternatively "shield" (made of linden tree) in ON, OHG and OE) ( Y)  Y Gislinde, Heidelinde, Rosalint, Ermelind, Kristlind, Melinda, Odelinde, Siglind/Sieglinde, Theodolinda, Þórlindur; Linddís, Lindolf, Lindvald, Lindvardh, Linveig very frequent as a second element in feminine names
liub, leof desirable, friendly  Y Leofric, Leofwine, Leofwynn
liuti people  Y Liutger/Leodegar, Luther, Lutold; Liutgard, Liutwin, Luitpold/Leopold
magan, megin; maht might, strength  Y Maganradus/Meinrad; Mathilde, Meinfrida, Meinhard
man, mann man, person  Y  Y Manfred, Herman, German, Norman
*mēri-; mære, mer, mar, mir famous  Y  Y Adelmar, Chlodomir, Marwig, Miro, Morgan, Filimer/Filimir, Hreiðmarr, Odomir/Otmar/Ottomar/Othmar/Ademar, Dietmar, Agilmar/Ilmar/Elmar, Ricimer, Richimir, Theodemir, Theodemar, Thiudimer, Sigmar, Ingemar/Ingmar, Valamir, Waldemar/Vladimir, Wilmer, Vidimir/Widemir, Wulfmar/Wulfomir
mund protection  Y Edmund, Erlemund, Kunimund, Sigmund, Rechimund, Reginmund/Raymond, Remismund, Normund
niw, niwi, niu, nia new  Y  Y Adalniu, Baudonivia, Dagný, Folcniu, Nibumir, Nivulf, Niwirat, Niwirich, Odalniu, Signý/Sigeneow, Teudonivia
noþ, OHG nand[23] courage  Y  Y Nanthild, Nothhelm; Byrhtnoth, Eadnoth, Ferdinand, Folcnand, Wieland/Wayland
nord, nor, ON norðr north  Y Norman, Normund, Norbert also in use as the first element in Norway
ræð counsel, wisdom  Y  Y Radegast, Radwig, Radulf; Alfred, Eadred, Conrad, Tancred, Wihtred; Ratberga/Redburga
ragin counsel  Y Raginald/Reginald/Reynold/Reinhold/Reynhold/Ronald, Reginbert, Reginmund/Raymond; Regintrud, Rægenhere, Ragnar
*remez, remis peace  Y Remisto, Remismund
run rune, secret  Y Gudrun, Walaruna
rīki-; OHG rihhi, AS rīc ruler  Y  Y Rigobert, Alaric, Ælfric, Beorthric, Brunric, Theodoric/Dietrich, Friedrich/Frederick, Richard, Richardis, Rictrude, Richilda, Rechila, Rechiar, Rechimund, Richimir, Rickstan, Eboric, Ulrich, Haidrich/Heidrich, Leofric, Wulfric, Roderick, Sigeric, Sedrick, Cedric, Patrick, Chilperic, Theodoric, Henry/Heinrich, Eric, Godric
sax, seax seax; a tribal name  Y Sexred; Seaxburh
sinþ, sind, siþ travel, time  Y  Y Sindolf/Sindulf, Sindram, Sindbald, Sindbert; Adalsinda Sinthgunt as "Sun's sister" in the Merseburg Incantations
sig, sigi, sige, sieg victory  Y  Y Sigborg/Siborg, Sigebald/Sibbald/Sibold, Sigbod/Sibot, Sigibert, Sibrand, Sigmar, Sigmund, Sighart, Sighelm, Sigher/Siger, Sigrad, Sigeric, Sigtrygg, Sigward/Siward, Sigfrid/Siegfried, Sigith/Sigita, Sigwald/Siwald, Sigulf/Sigewulf; Ælfsige;[9] Sigelinde/Siglind, Sigtrud possibly theophoric in origin, in reference to Teiwaz, and later Odin, the god of victory.[24] Hypocorisms Sigo, Sike, Sikke.
stan stone  Y Æthelstan, Thorsten, Wulfstan, Bertstan, Rickstan also in simplex Sten, from Scandinavian Steinn
swint, swiþ strength  Y  Y Swithwulf, Swinthibald; Amalaswintha, Ealhswith; Swinthila
tank thought, counsel  Y Tancred/Dancrad, Dancmar
trygg truth  Y Sigtrygg
Valdr ruler, leader  Y Ronald, Roald
wand, wandal wander, wend  Y Wandefrid, Wandedrudis (f.), Vandebercth (7th century), Wandemar, Wandarich, Wendulf, Wanthildis (f., 9th century); Wandalbold (8th century), Wandalbert (7th-9th centuries), Wandalburgis (f., 10th-11th centuries) in the names of the Vandals, Wends and Aurvandil
weald, Wald power, brightness  Y  Y Waldemar/Vladimir, Walther; Edwald, Ewald, Frithuwold, Harold, Sigwald/Siwald, Gerald, Gundoald, Waldwolf/Waldolf/Adolf, Oswald/Ansaldo, Walfrid/Walfried
warin; weard guardian  Y  Y Warinhari/Wernher/Werner; Brunward, Edward, Sigward; Freawaru, Ælfwaru
wiht wight, spirit  Y Wihtred
wil will, desire  Y Wilhelm/William, Wilmer, Wilfred, Wilbert, Willihad, Willigip
win, wini, wine friend  Y  Y Winibald, Winimund, Winibert; Ælfwine/Alboin, Alcuin, Aldoin, Baldwin, Darwin, Ecgwine, Edwin/Audoin, Erlwin, Erwin, Gerwin, Goswin, Leofwine, Oswin
wig battle, war  Y  Y Wiglaf, Wigbert, Wigheard; Ludwig, Hedwig, Marwig
wal(a), wel, wæl battle  Y Wieland/Wayland,[25] Walaman, Walarad, Walerand, Walaruna, Walesinda, Wala-anc, Walahelm, Walaram hypochoristic Wallia, Walica. c.f. Valhalla, Valkyrie, Valföðr etc.
wod (wad?) fury  Y Wodilhilt (f.), Wodalgarta (f.), Wodilbalt (a. 969), Wodalbert (a. 773), Wodelfrid (a. 912), Wodilulf (11th century), Vudamot (a. 821) because of the close association with Wodanaz, these names are rare already in the OHG period, and fall out of use entirely during the High Middle Ages. Some hypocorisms such as Wote (a. 784), Woda (f., 8th century), Wodal (a. 889), Wode, Wodtke, may derive from this element. Wotan is recorded as a given name in the early 9th century.[26] Association of most of these names with wod "fury" is uncertain, as there are the homophonic but unrelated roots of OHG watan "to wade" and wat "garment".[27]
wid(u), wit wood, forest  Y Withhold, Widukind hypocorism Guido, Guy
wulf wolf  Y  Y Aethelwulf/Adolf, Arnulf, Atenulf, Beowulf, Brunulf/Brynolf/Brunolf/Brynjolfr/Brunulphe, Cuthwulf, Cynewulf, Eadwulf, Ealdwulf/Aldwulf, Eardwulf, Ernulf, Gangolf, Gundulf, Pandulf, Swithwulf, Rudolph; Wulfstan, Wolfgang, Wolfram, Wulf (etc.) Especially as second element, -ulf, -olf is extremely common. Förstemann explains this as originally motivated by the wolf as an animal sacred to Wodanaz, but notes that the large number of names indicates that the element had become a meaningless suffix of male names at an early time. Förstemann counts 381 names in -ulf, -olf, among which only four are feminine. See also Offa (name)
wyn(n) joy  Y  Y Wynflæd; Ælfwynn, Ecgwynn, Brihtwyn
þeod people  Y Theodoric/Dietrich/Derick/Dirk, Detlef, Diether, Diethelm, Theobald, Dietfried, Theudebert, Theodemar; Dietlinde
*þegnaz, degen warrior, thane  Y  Y Degenhard, Degericus; Deitdegen, Edildegan, Drûtdegan, Heridegan, Swertdegan, Volcdegen

OH þrúðr, OE þrȳð,[28]drut, trud, thrud, thryth

force, strength  Y  Y Drutmund; Æthelthryth, Osthryth, Cynethryth, Ermintrude, Gertrude, Bertrude, Rictrude, Sæthryth, Waltrud/Waltraut Names with this suffix are feminine only; Þrúðr is a daughter of Thor in Norse mythology. Short form Trudy, Trudi
þonar, donar, þór (the god of) thunder  Y (rare) Donarperht (9th century), Donarad (8th century), Þórarin, Þórhall, Þórkell, Þórfinnr, Þórvald, Þórvarðr, Þórgeir, Þórsteinn (9th century), Thunerulf/Þórolf ; Albthonar (8th century) These names appear from the 8th or 9th century; popular in Scandinavia during the 10th to 11th centuries. Förstemann 1199.
þurs, Thuris, Turis giant  Y Thusnelda (1st century; presumably for *Thurishilda), Thurismund (6th century), Thurisind (6th century), Turisulfus an archaic element in names of the migration period, extinct during the medieval period. Förstemann 1200.

Monothematic namesEdit

Some medieval Germanic names are attested in simplex form; these names originate as hypocorisms of full dithematic names, but in some cases they entered common usage and were no longer perceived as such.

  • Masculine: Aldo (whence English Aldous), Adel, Anso/Anzo/Enzo, Folki/Folke/Fulco, Gero, Helmo/Elmo, Ise/Iso, Kuno, Lanzo, Manno, Odo/Otto, Rocco, Sten, Waldo, Warin, Wido, Wine, Wolf/Wulf
  • Feminine: Adele, Alda, Bertha, Emma, Hilda, Ida, Isa, Linda, Oda

Some hypocorisms retain a remnant of their second element, but reduced so that it cannot be identified unambiguously any longer; Curt/Kurt may abbreviate either Conrad or Cunibert. Harry may abbreviate either Harold or Henry.

Other monothematic names originate as surnames (bynames) rather than hypocorisms of old dithematic names; e.g. Old English Æsc "ash tree", Carl "free man" (Charles), Hengest "stallion", Raban "raven" (Rabanus Maurus), Hagano/Hagen "enclosure", Earnest "vigorous, resolute".

Uncertain etymologyEdit

  • Gustav has been interpreted by e.g. Elof Hellquist (1864 - 1939) Swedish linguist specialist in North Germanic languages as gauta-stabaz (gauta-stabaR) "staff of the Geats"; it may also originate as an adaptation of the Slavic name Gostislav.
  • Old English Pǣga (unknown meaning)
  • Pepin
  • Morcar
  • Zotto
  • Cleph
  • Pemmo

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ e.g. the names of kings Penda, Pybba, Offa, Wuffa, and Sebbi, all Anglo-Saxons born in the 6th or 7th centuries
  2. ^ The oldest attested Germanic name may be Harigast, written harikast in the Negau helmet inscription, but there are dissenting minority opinions.
  3. ^ Gothic or pseudo-Gothic names also constitute most of the personal names in use in the Christian successor states of the Visigothic kingdom in the Iberian peninsula during High Middle Ages; c.f. Boullón Agrelo, Ana Isabel (1999). Antroponomia medieval galega (ss. VIII - XII). Tübingen: Niemeyer. ISBN 978-3-484-55512-9. and Förstemann, Ernst (1900). Altdeutsches Namenbuch (3 ed.). Bonn: P. Hanstein. Archived from the original on 2016-03-05. Retrieved 2022-04-02.
  4. ^ "ank-1".
  5. ^ c.f. OE ehtan
  6. ^ "agh-".
  7. ^ names terminating in -ald are from -wald.
  8. ^ Vestralpus, the name of an Alamannic king, may be a rare instance of this element occurring in the second part of a name.
  9. ^ a b attested as latinized Ælsinus
  10. ^ perhaps reduced from Ælfgifu, or Ælthelgifu.
  11. ^ this name survives in corrupted form in the given name Axel and in the surnames Aslock, Hasluck
  12. ^ some possible rare exceptions, such as Fulcarb.
  13. ^ often conflated with Latin Pilgrim, Peregrinus
  14. ^ perhaps as a suffix in certain names latinized as -domus.
  15. ^ c.f. Old English eorcnan-stan "precious stone, gem". Pokorny (1959) tentatively grouped the word with PIE *arǵ- "glittering, shining", whence Latin argentum "silver"), but Gothic ark- may also represent an early loan from Greek ἀρχι- ("arch-", c.f. Ulfilan Gothic arkaggilus for archangelus). Formerly (Diefenbach 1851) also compared to Sanskrit arh- "to be worthy".
  16. ^ Erchtag was a name of Tuesday in Bavarian dialect; see Grimm, Deutsche Mythologie, 113; 182—185.
  17. ^ a b apparently a Gothic name; perhaps from fardi "travel" (Förstemann, 401), perhaps also from frithu "protection".
  18. ^ a b Okasha, Elisabeth (2016-12-05). Women's Names in Old English. Routledge. ISBN 9781351871211.
  19. ^ perhaps conflated with hild- from an early time.
  20. ^ names with this second element have been conflated with names in -rad. Förstemann 1900:875.
  21. ^ names with this second element are uncertain, most of the candidates could contain the simple suffix -ing. Förstemann 1900:877.
  22. ^ Lena Peterson Nordiskt runnamnslexikon (2002)
  23. ^ cognate to Old Irish néit "combat", see Pokorny (1959), p. 755.
  24. ^ Yonge, p. 306.
  25. ^ see Hellmut Rosenfeld, Der Name Wieland, Beiträge zur Namenforschung (1969)
  26. ^ Förstemann, 1332f.
  27. ^ Förstemann, 1224.
  28. ^ "ÞRUÐ - Nordic Names Wiki - Name Origin, Meaning and Statistics". Retrieved 2017-01-31.
  • Colman, Fran (2014). The Grammar of Names in Anglo-Saxon England: The Linguistics and Culture of the Old English Onomasticon. Oxford linguistics. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780198701675.
  • Olof von Feilitzen, The Pre-conquest Personal Names of Domesday Book (1937).
  • E. Förstemann, Altdeutsches Namenbuch (1856; online facsimile)
  • Förstemann, Ernst (1900). Altdeutsches Namenbuch (3 ed.). Bonn: P. Hanstein. Archived from the original on 2016-03-05. Retrieved 2022-04-02.
  • Lena Peterson, Nordiskt runnamnslexikon, 4th ed. (2002); 5th ed. (2007).
  • P. R. Kitson, (2002). How Anglo-Saxon personal names work. Nomina, 24, 93.
  • F. C. Robinson, (1968). The significance of names in old English literature. Anglia, 86, 14–58.
  • Justus Georg Schottel, De nominibus veterum Germanorum, in: Ausführliche Arbeit Von der Teutschen Haubt-Sprache, Zilliger (1663), book 5, chapter 2, pp. 1029–1098.[1]
  • Franz Stark, Die Kosenamen der Germanen: eine Studie: mit drei Excursen: 1. Über Zunamen; 2. Über den Ursprung der zusammengesetzten Namen; 3. Über besondere friesische Namensformen und Verkürzungen, 1868.
  • Friedrich Wilhelm Viehbeck, Die Namen der Alten teutschen: als Bilder ihres sittlichen und bürgerlichen Lebens (1818; online facsimile)
  • H. B. Woolf, (1939). The old Germanic principles of name-giving. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.
  • H. C. Wyld, (1910). Old Scandinavian personal names in England. Modern Language Review, 5, 289–296.
  • Charlotte Mary Yonge, History of Christian names, vol. 2, Parker and Bourn, 1863.
  • Schönfeld, Moritz (1911). Wörterbuch der altgermanischen Personen- und Völkernamen. Heidelberg: C. Winter.

External linksEdit