Henry (given name)

Henry is an English male given name and Irish surname derived from Old French Henri/Henry, itself derived from the Old Frankish name Heimeric/Ermerijc, from Common Germanic *Haimarīks (from *haima- "home" and *rīk- "ruler").[1][2] In Old High German, the name was conflated with the name Haginrich (from hagin "enclosure" and rich "ruler") to form Heinrich.[3]

Workshop of Hans Holbein the Younger - Portrait of Henry VIII - Google Art Project.jpg
Name dayJuly 13
MeaningHome ruler, ruler of (the) home, ruler of the homeland
Other names
Related namesHal (nickname in Shakespeare's Henry V), Harry (nickname), Hank (nickname), Heinz, Heinrich, Hinrich (German), Henrik (Scandinavian), Henri (French), Enrique (Spanish), Enrico (Italian), Hendrik (Dutch), Henrique (Portuguese), Henryk (Polish), Jindrich (Czech), Hynek (Czech), Genri, Genrikh (Russian), Enzo (Italian); Ints, Indriķis (Latvian), Henrietta (feminine), Harriet (feminine)

The Old High German name is recorded from the 8th century, in the variants Haimirich, Haimerich, Heimerich, Hemirih.[4] Harry, its English short form, was considered the "spoken form" of Henry in medieval England. Most English kings named Henry were called Harry. The name became so popular in England that the phrase "Tom, Dick, and Harry" began to be used to refer to men in general. The common English feminine forms of the name are Harriet and Henrietta.

It has been a consistently popular name in English-speaking countries for centuries. It was among the top 100 most popular names used for boys born in the United States, England and Wales, and in Australia in 2007. It was the 46th most common name for boys and men in the United States in the 1990 census.[5] Harry, its short form, was the fifth most popular name for boys in England and Wales in 2007 and among the top 50 names in Ireland, Scotland and Northern Ireland in recent years. Harry was ranked as the 578th most popular name in the United States in 2007.[6]

In different languagesEdit

Masculine variantsEdit

In the High Middle Ages, the name was Latinized as Henricus. It was a royal name in Germany, France and England throughout the high medieval period (Henry I of Germany, Henry I of England, Henry I of France) and widely used as a given name; as a consequence, many regional variants developed in the languages of Western and Central Europe:[7]

Within German, Low German, Frisian and Dutch, numerous diminutives and abbreviated forms exist, including Low German, Dutch and Frisian Heike, Heiko; Dutch Hein, Heintje; German Heiner, Heinz.

The original diphthong was lost in Dutch Hendrik (hypocoristics Henk, Hennie, Rik), Scandinavian Henrik[8] (whence Henning).

Eastern European languages under the influence of German and the Scandinavian languages during the medieval period have developed native forms: Polish Henryk, Czech Jindřich, Hynek. Hungarian, Slovene, Croatian Henrik Finnish Henrikki (hypocoristic Heikki), Lithuanian Henrikas, Lithuanian Herkus.

The French form Henri became productive in the British Isles, in Middle English adopted as Harry, Herry. Herry was adopted into Welsh as Perry, in Irish as Annraoi, Anraí, Einrí and in Scottish Gaelic as Eanraig, Eanruig.

In Southern Europe variants without the initial /h/ include Italian Arrigo, Enrico, Catalan Enric and Spanish Enrique (whence Basque Endika) and Italian Enzo.

A separate variant, which may originate with the Old High German name Haimirich, but possibly conflated with the names Ermenrich (first element ermen "whole") or Amalric (first element amal "vigour, bravery") is Emmerich. Emmerich is the origin of a separate suit of variant names used across Western and Central Europe, although these never rose to the ubiquity of the variants of Henry; they include English Emery Amery, Emory, French Émeric, Hungarian Imre, Imrus, Slovak Imrich, Italian Amerigo and Iberian (Portuguese, Spanish, Galician) Américo, etc.

Feminine variantsEdit

Several variants of Heinrich have given name to derived feminine given names;[year needed] Low German Henrik, Hendrik gave rise to Henrike, Hendrike, Hendrikje, Hendrina, Henrika etc. Low German Heiko to Heike Italian Enrico gave rise to Enrica ( Enrika, Enriqua) Spanish Enrique to Enriqueta, Enriquetta, Enriquette. French Henri gave rise to Henriette, Henrietta, further modified to Enrieta, Enrietta English Harry to Harriet, Harriett, Harrietta, Harriette, hypocorisms Hattie, Hatty, Hettie, Etta, Ettie; various other hypocorisms include Hena, Henna, Henah, Heni, Henia, Henny, Henya, Henka, Dutch Jet, Jett, Jetta, Jette, Ina; Polish Henryka, Henia, Heniusia, Henka, Henryczka, Henrysia, Rysia.[citation needed] The hypocorisms Rika, Rike (etc.) may be from this or other names with the second element -ric. Spanish and Portuguese América from the Emmerich variant Amérigo .


Harrison (surname), Henson (surname), Harris (surname), Heaney (Irish surname), Fitzhenry (Irish Hiberno-Norman surname), Heinz (German surname), Enríquez (Spanish surname), Henriques (Portuguese surname), Hendrick, Hendricks, Hinrichs, Hendrickx, Hendriks, Hendrikx, Hendrix, Hendryx.

People with the given nameEdit


Early modernEdit


Fictional charactersEdit

Other usesEdit


  1. ^ "Historische woordenboeken op internet (gtb.inl.nl)".
  2. ^ Van Den Reinaerde, Jacob Wijbrand Muller. P122 appendix. 'Ermerijc'.
  3. ^ The contribution of Haimirich, Haimrich is more significant than that of the (rarer) Haginrich, Hainrich: "In formen wie Hainrich u. s. w. fliessen die beiden namen Haimirich und Gaganrich anz in einander hinüber. Doch ist die erstere die hauptquelle unseres namens Heinrich. Von den beiden alten erklärungen desselben, = Hainreich und = daheim reich, kommt daher die zweite der wahrheit näher als die erste." E. Förstemann, Altdeutsches Namenbuch (1856), 593, cf "Heinrich", nordicnames.de.
  4. ^ The spelling Heinrich dates to the 11th century, alongside numerous variants (Heimirich, Heimarih, Heimeric, Haimrich, Heimrich, Heimrih, Hemerich, Hemric, Hemrich, Hemmerich, Aimirich, Heinrich Hinrich, Henric, Henrih, Ainrich, Enerich, Enrich etc.) E. Förstemann, Altdeutsches Namenbuch (1856), 591
  5. ^ Campbell, Mike. "Henry". Behind the Name. Retrieved 2013-10-11.
  6. ^ Campbell, Mike. "Harry". Behind the Name. Retrieved 2013-10-11.
  7. ^ "Names related to Henri". Behind the Name.
  8. ^ from an Old Norse *Heinrekr nordicnames.de