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Harold is a personal name derived from the Old English name Hereweald, derived from the Germanic elements here "army" and weald "power, leader, ruler".[1] The Old Norse cognate, Haraldr, was also common among settlers in the Danelaw. Diminutives of Harold are Harry, Hank[citation needed] and Hal. The Old High German form is Heriwald or Heriold, from hari "army" and wald- "rule". The Germanic name is recorded very early, as the name of Cariovalda (for Proto-Germanic *harja-waldaz), a king of the Batavi in Tacitus (1st century), and later (7th century), as Arioald, as the name of a king of the Lombards,[2] and in the 10th century as the name of Harald Bluetooth, as runic haraltr (ᚼᛅᚱᛅᛚᛏᚱ) in the Jelling stone inscription.

Word/nameOld English
Meaning"army leader"
Region of originEngland
Other names
Related namesHereweald, Herewald, Harald, Harry, Hal, Hally


  • Hagrold (fl. 944–954), also known as Harold, Scandinavian chieftain in Normandy
  • Harold Harefoot, or Harold I (c. 1015–1040), King of England from 1035 to 1040
  • Harold Godwinson, or Harold II (c. 1022–1066), the last Anglo-Saxon king of England
  • Harold of Gloucester (died 1168), supposed child martyr and saint, allegedly murdered by Jews
  • Harald Fairhair (850-932), the first King of Norway
  • Arioald, king of the Lombards

Modern nameEdit

Fictional charactersEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Harold". Behind the Name.
  2. ^ A. Förstemann, Altdeutsches Namenbuch (1856), 631f.