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 æþel, for "noble", and ræd, for "counsel".

However, there are also from an early time names 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, Arminius and his wife Thusnelda in the 1st century, 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 were abbreviated or corrupted, so that their etymology is not always clear.

Of the large number of medieval Germanic names, a comparatively small set remains in common use today. The most frequent name of Germanic origin in English has traditionally been William (Bill; from an Old High German Willahelm), followed by Robert and Charles (Carl, after Charlemagne). Very few names of native English (Anglo-Saxon) origin survive into current use, the most common of these being Edward, Edmund, Edgar, Alfred and Harold for males; the female name Audrey continues the Anglo-Norman (French) form of the Anglo-Saxon Æðelþryð.

Dithematic names

element meaningprefixsuffixexamplesnotes
act, aht, oht fearsome(?) Yes 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 Yes Egbert, Ecgbald, Ecgwine, Ekkehart, Ecgric, Eginolf; Ecgwynn Some names in ag-, eg- may be unrelated in origin; see Förstemann, 9.
agil, ail, eil ? Yes Agilperht, Agilfrid, Agilulf, Egilger, Agilmar, Egilrat; Alruna, Agilburgis, uncertain etymology; like agin perhaps a hypostatis of the older ag-; Förstemann, 22. See Agilaz.
ala all Yes 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 Yes [7] Altopold, Altiperht, Aldfrid, Aldegar, Aldman, Aldwig, Aldwin; Aldedrudis, Aldeberga/Aldburg, Aldigart, Altagund, Aldelindis
*albi-; ælf, elf, alf elf Yes[8] Ælfwine, Ælfric, Alfred, Ælfweard, Ælfsige;[9] Ælfflæd, Ælfwaru, Ælfwynn
*alh, alah, ealh hall, temple Yes Ealhhelm, Alhred, Ealhwine/Alcuin; Ealhswith, Ælgifu(?)[10] perhaps related to runic alu
amala work(?) Yes Amaleberga, Amalafrida, Amalrica, Amalaswintha/Melisende/Millicent, Ealhswith c.f. Amalia, Amelie. This element's etymology is uncertain, but it is frequently compared to Old Norse aml "work".
angil, engel; ingal/ingel Angles tribal name Yes 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 Yes Æthelhard, Æthelred, Adolph, Adelbert, Adelbrand/Alebrand, Albert, Æthelwulf; Æthelburg, Adelaide, Æthelflæd, Æthelthryth/Audrey see ethel, odal
*ans-, ON ás, OHG ans, AS os god Yes Oswin, Oswald, Ansgar, Ásleikr/Anslech/Oslac,[11] Ansfridus, Anshelmus, Ansgisus, Ansbrecht, Answald; Osburh, Osgyth, Osthryth
ar, ara, ari, arni, earn eagle Yes Arafrid, Aramund, Arswind, Arfrid, Arnipert, Arnold, Arnulf Many of these names cannot be distinguished with certainty from the corresponding name in hari-.
arb, erb, erf inheritance Yes [12] Arbogastis, Erbhart, Erphari, Erpolach, Erflind, Erbemar, Erpmund, Erferat, Erferih, Erpwin, Erpulf hypocorism Aribo, Erbo
asc, æsc ash, spear Yes Aschari, Asclind, Ascarich, Ascwin, Asculf c.f. Oisc, Ask
*audaz, aud, od, euþ, auþ, euth, ead, eod, jóð wealth, prosperity Yes Audeca, Audofleda, Auduin, Odotheus, Odoacer, Odomir, Edgar/Audagar/Ottokar, Edmund, Eadnoth, Eadred/Edred, Edward, Eadwig, Edwin, Eadgifu, Æthelgifu (etc.) Extremely frequent. c.f. also Ethel, Otto, Odda, Auðr
aun, on, ean ? Yes Eanhere, Aunefrit/Eanfrith, Aunemund, Onerich, Aunulf; Eanflæd Etymology unknown; see Förstemann, 181.
aus, aust, eost radiant; a goddess Yes Auripert, Aurendil/Orendil/Aurvandil, Aurulf; Ostheri, Austrad, Austrobert, Austraberta, Ostarpurc, Aostarger, Aostargart, Austrigisil, Ostarhilt, Ostremund, Austrad, Australd, Ostruin, Austrulf possibly theophopric, see Eostre, Aurvandil
bald bold Yes Yes Baldwin; Theobald, etc. very frequent, and often conflated with the wald element.
baud, bad, bud ? YesYes Baudigisil, Baudegund, Baudemund, Baudulf uncertain etymology; mostly in old names (before the 8th century) Förstemann, 216f. In later use indistinguishable from bald
baug ring Yes Baugegundus, Bauglind, Baugulf
*berht-; beraht, bryht, briht bright YesYes Byrhtnoth, Bertrand, Beorhtric, Brihtwyn; Cuthbert, Albert, Albright, Robert, Adelberthypocorism Bert. One of the most frequent elements, but not attested before the 6th century.
burg, beorg fortress Yes Yes Burchard/Burkhart, Burgred; Eadburh/Æthelburg, Osburh, Redburga, Walpurga The suffix is feminine only. See also Burke
bera, bern, berin, beorn bear Yes Berengar, Berahart/Bernhard, Berhildis, Berahoch, Bermar, Berimund, Beornwulf c.f. Beonna, Berig
bil blade, sword Yes Biligrim,[13] Bilihelm, Bilihild, Belimar, Bilidruda, Pilolf among the Saxons often monothematic, as Bilo, Pilicho, Pillin, Billung
blic lightning Yes Blictrud, Blicger, Blicgart, Plechelm, Blicildis
blid blithe Yes Bliddruda, Bllithar, Blithelm, Blidhild, Blidmar, Blidulf, Blidemund, Plittelmi
bord shield Yes Herebord, Hiltiport, Saelbort, Willipord
brand sword Yes Yes Branthildis, Branthoc, Brandulf; Adelbrand, Hildebrand, Hadubrand, Theudebrand c.f. Brant. Attested from the 7th century, with the exception of Gothic Brandila
brun armour, protection; brown Yes Brunfrid, Brunger, Brunric, Brunward, Brunulf; 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 ? Yes Yes 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 YesYesDissibod, Disnot Names with this prefix are probably theophoric. In Nordic feminine names with the suffix -dis, the meaning is "woman".
diur, deor ? Yes Deurtrudis, Thiurhilt, Deorold, Deorulf The meaning of this element may be either "animal" (deer) or "dear". See also Deor.
dom judgement Yes ?[14] Dombert, Domedrudis, Domegerdis, Domalde, Duomolf
druht, droc, druc people Yes Droctbold, Drocberta, Drutberga, Drucfred, Druhtgang, Truhthari, Droctelm, Dructildis, Druhtmar, Dructimund, Dructuin, Dructulf
ebur, eber, eofor boar Yes Eparpert/Everbert, Eureberga, Euurdag, Ebertrudis, Eparfrid, Eberger, Eberhard/Eoforheard, Ebarhelm, Eburhilt, Ebirmuot, Ebermunt, Ebarolt, Eberwin/Ebroin, Eberulf, Eboric
era, eri, erin, ern honour Yes 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] Yes Ercanberaht/Eorcenberht, Ercanbold, Ercamberta, Ercanpurh, Ercantrud, Ercanfrid, Ercangar, Ercanhilt, Erchensinda, 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 Yes Erlabald, Erlefrida, Erligar, Erlemund, Erliwin, 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 Yes Euin, Eubert, Eomar, Eumund, Ewirat, Eric, Eowig, Eolf
far, fara; fart, fard journey, travel Yes Yes Farabert, Faregar, Feriher, Farohildis, Ferlinda, Faraman, Faramod, Faramund, Faroald, Faruin, Faraulf, Farnulf; Farthilt, Fartman, Ferdinand,[17] Fardulf, ; Adalfer, Leobafar, Sicfara, Theudifara
fast firm, fast Yes Fastburg, Fastrada, Fastrih, Fastwin, Fastulf
fili much/many(?) Yes Filibert, Feologild?, Filuliub, Filomar, Filomuot
*friþu-; ON friþ, OHG fridu protection, peace YesYesFredegar, Ferdinand,[17] Frithuwold; Godfried, Dietfried, Sigfrid/Siegfried; Frithugyth; Friedrich
flad, flæð purity, glory, beauty Yes Yes 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 Yes Frambold, Frambert, Framsindis, Franemund, Franswinda almost exclusively Frankish names.
franc tribal name Yes Francobert, Frangomere, Franchrih
fraw, fro, frea; fri lord Yes Frowin, Frawibald, Frawiprecht, Frawihilt, Frowimund, Frowini, Frauirat, Frawisinda, Freawaru; Friher, Frehild, Friulf c.f. Fróði; theophoric (see Fraujaz, Frijjō).
frig, freh bold Yes Frigobert, Frehholt, Friculf
frod wise, prudent Yes Frotbald, Frodobert, Frotfar, Frotfrid, Frodegard, Frothard, Frotland, Frotmir, Frotmund, Frodwin, Frodulf hypocorisms Frodo, Frutilo, Frodin
frum good, beneficial Yes Frumiger, Frumihilt, Frumirat, Frumirih, Frumold, Frumolf, Frumar
fulc, folc, volc people, folk Yes Yes 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 Yes Amdefuns, Adalfuns/Alphons, Bernefons, Hadufuns, Sigifuns, Valafons
gail, gel gay Yes Gelbold, Geilindis, Geilamir, Gailswindis, Geilwib, Geilwih, hypocorism Gailo, Geliko
gamal, gam old Yes Gamalbold, Gamalbert, Gamalberga, Gamaltrudis, Gamalfred, Gamalher, Camalrat,
gaman joy Yes Gamanhilt, Gamanolt, Gamanulf only Old High German, rare
gan magic Yes Yes Gannibald, Ganefard, Ganhart ; Adalgan, Audiganus, Wolfgan
gand, gend (?) Yes Yes Gantberga, Gentfrid, Ganthar/Ganther, Gendrad, Gandaricus, Gandulf ; Gredegand, Charigand, Hrodogand, Gislegendis hypocorisms Gando, Gantalo, Gandin; c.f. Gandalfr (mythological)
gang path, journey Yes Yes Gangperht, Gangulf; Bertegang, Druhtgang, Hildigang, Hrodegang, Wiligang, Wolfgang
gar, ger, earlier gais spear Yes Yes Gerald, Gerhard/Gerard, Gerbrand; Edgar, Hrothgar/Roger hypocorism Gero, Gerry. Very frequent both as prefix and as suffix. Gerðr is the wife of Freyr in Norse mythology.
gard enclosure Yes YesGardrad, Gardulf; Hildegard, Irmgard, Liutgart, etc. Rare as a prefix, very frequent as a suffix. The great majority of names with this suffix are feminine.
gast guest; spirit Yes Yes 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 tribal name Yes Yes Gauzebald/Cozpolt/Gausbolda, Gaucibert/Gozperaht, Gauseprand, Gausburgis, Gauttrudis, Caozflat, Gautfred, Gozger, Gauter/Kozheri, Gautshelm, Gauthildis, Gozleih, Gautlindis, Gautrekr, 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 Yes Yes 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 Yes Yes 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 Yes Giselbert, Giselric, Giselhard; Giselberga hypocorism Gisela, c.f. Giselle
glis gleam Yes Glismot, Glisnot
god, got god / good Yes 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 alternate form of Gund
graus horror, terror Yes Crosmuat (8th century), Grausolph (9th century) simplex Grauso, Chroso, Cros, Kros, etc.;
graw, gra grey Yes Graobart, Grahilt (8th century), Graman (8th century), Graulf (8th century)
grim helmet, mask Yes Grimwald; Grimhild/Krimhild
guma man Yes Gomadrudis, Gomoharius, Gomahilt, Gomaleih, Gomlinda, Gumemar, Gumarich, Gumesind, Gumoalt, Gomolf
*gunþ-; gund, gud, gyþ, gyð battle, war YesYesGunther/Gunter, Gunnhild; Gudrun; Eadgyð, Rigunth, Ealdgyð/Edith, Frithugyth
hag, hagan; hah (?) Yes 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 Yes Yes 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 Yes Yes 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 Yes Henry, Heimwart hypocorism Haimo
haist, heist furious, violent(?) Yes Haisthilt, Haistulf, Hailun c.f. Old English hæst; also compared with the tribal name of the Aesti.
hamar hammer Yes Hamerard, Hamarolf rare; limited to a handful of names of the 8th century.
hand hand(?) Yes Hantbert, Hantker, Handegis, Hantwin, Handolf rare, 8th and 9th centuries.
harc altar(?) Yes Harcmot, Hercrat, Harchellindis (f.), Horcholt rare, 9th and 10th centuries; c.f. the entries under ercan.
hard, heard brave, hardy Yes Yes Hartman, Hartmut (etc.); Æthelhard, Richard, Gerhard (etc.) very frequent, recorded from as early as the 3rd century.
*hari, her army YesYesDiether, Hereweald/Harold, Herbert, Herleif, Herman/Arminius, Ariovistus, Ariouualdus hypocorism Harry; Heri(?). Very frequent, Förstemann lists 289 names with -hari as second element. As first element recorded as early as the 1st century (in Chariovalda).
hath, had, hada, hadu battle, combat YesYes Hadubrand, Hadufuns, Hedwig; Rihhad, Willihad, Wolfhad, Vunnihad frequent, from the 6th century, formally indistinguishable from haid.
hedan, haidan heathen, pagan YesYes Hedenold, Hedenulf ; Wolfhetan rare; 7th to 9th centuries.
helm protector Yes Yes Helmut, Helmdrud, Helmfrid; Diethelm, Ealhhelm, Cwichelm, Nothhelm, Wilhelm hypocorism Helmo. Comparatively frequent from the 6th century.
heah, hoch high Yes Heaberht, Hámundr c.f. Huoching/Haki
hild- war YesYesGunnhild, Childebert, Hildebrand, Hildegard (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.
hilp, help aid, help Yes Chilperic, Helpoald, Helpuin, Helpwolf rare; Chilperic is from the 5th century, other names with this element occur only in the 8th and 9th centuries.
hilt, hilz, helz hilt Yes [18] Hilcekin, Helzuni, Helzolt rare; 8th to 11th centuries
himil heaven Yes Himildrud, Himilger, Himilrad rare, 8th to 10th centuries.
hir- sword Yes 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 Yes Hirizpero, Herzrad(?); dim. Hirzula rare
hleo protection Yes Hleoperht, Hlevagastir
hlud, hloda fame Yes Hlothhere, Chlodwig/Ludwig/Louis, Chlodomir; Chlodoswintha
hog, huog dexterous, nimble(?) Yes Huogobert, Huoging, Hogo
hol crafty, devious(?) Yes Holebert, Holomot, Holemund, Holosint
hord, hort hoard, treasure Yes Hortbert, Horthari, Hordold, Hordward, Horduin,
hraban raven Yes Yes 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 Yes (?)[19] Hradperaht, Hradpurh, Hradgast, Hrathari, Hradwin
hraid, hreid' famous(?) Yes Hreiðmarr, Hreidperaht, Hreidgaer, Hreitolf also in the name of the Hreiðgoths.
hring, ring ring Yes (?)[20] Hringuni, Rhincbold, Ringhelm, Hringweald, Hringolf Förstemann 1900:877 suggests that the "ring" element in origin refers to ring-mail
hroc, roc ? Yes Yes Ferderuchus, Unhroch, Wolfhroc; Rocbert, Hrohhart, Hrocculf, Ruocswint, 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 Yes Ruombald, Rumbert, Ruumker, Hrumheri, Ruomlind, Romuald, Romulf since the 5th century; hypocorisms Ruom, Roma, Rumo. Förstemann 1900:883
*hrōþ-; hruot fame Yes Yes Hrothgar/Roger, Hrodberht/Robert, Roderick, Roland; Adalrod, Fridarut, Hartrod, Liutrod, Sigirod 8th century; hypocorisms Chrodius, Hrodo, Hrodio, Hroda; Förstemann 1900:883
hug, hyg spirit, courage Yes ( Yes) Hugibald, Hygelac, Hugubert, Hugibrant, Hucger, Hugilind; Adalhug, Kerhuge
hun ? YesYes Hunferthus, Hunbeorht; Andhun, Berthun; Ælfhun c.f. Hun of East Anglia
ing a god Yes Inga, Ingeborg, Inger, Ingvar, Ingrid
irm(en), erm(en) strong, whole Yes Eormenred, Ermenrich/Hermeric/Emmerich/Emery/Amerigo; Ermegard/Irmgard, Ermendrud/Ermintrud/Irmtrud possibly theophoric, see Irminsul; hypocorisms Irma, Armin, Emma
ise(n) iron Yes Yes Isebert/Isebrecht, Isenhart Isegrimm may in origin have been a kenning for "wolf".
jut- tribal name Yes Judida, Judinga, Jutcar, Judilidis, Jutrad, Joduin, Judelhildis probably from the name of the Juthungi or the Jutes
jung young Yes Jungarat, Jungericus, Jungulf, Jugenprand 8th to 10th century, rare (used more rarely than ald- "old")
karl, carl, ceorl man Yes Yes Carlofred, Carlman; Altcarl, Gundecarl rare; possibly extensions from the simplex.
*kōni-; cen, coen fierce, keen Yes Conrad/Konrad, Cynric, Coenwulf
*kun(n)i-, OHG kuni, chun, also chim, chin, chind; AS cyne kin, offspring, child Yes Kunibert, Kunimund, Cynewulf; Kunigunde, Cynethryth; Chindasvinth; Adelchind, Drudchind, Widukind, Willekind hypocorism Kuno, Chintila
*kunþ-; cuþ renowned Yes Cuthbert, Cuthred
kwik-; cwic alive, lively Yes Cwichelm
laik play/dance Yes (?) Ekkileich, Albleih, Amalleih, Ásleikr/Oslac, Audolecus, Perlaicus, Perahteih, Chinileihc, Dagaleich, Fridileih, Frotalaicus, Folcleih, Gozleih, Gundelaicus, Halulec, Hildelaicus, Hugilaih, 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 (Yes) YesEggileib, Albleib, 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 Yes Yes Ansleth, Wolfleit; Leitbraht, Leitfrid, Leither, Leidmuot, Laidarat, Laidoin, Laidulf rare
lamp fitting(?) Yes Lampert, Lampfrid rare, 8th to 10th century
land land Yes YesAcland, 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, Gagentland, RIhland, Sigilant, Wariland, Wiclant, Vulfland; Landolin, Landing, Landbold, Landberta, Landeberga, Lamprand, Lantbodo, Lndfrid, Landagar, Landegaus, Landgrim, Landegunda, Lantheida, Landohard, Lanthar, Landohildis, Landerich, Landswinda, Landoald, Landwih, Landuin, Landulf
laug bride? Yes 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, 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)"[21]
lind soft, mild (Yes) Yes Gislinde, Heidelinde, Rosalint, Ermelind, Kristlind, Melinda, Odelinde, Sieglinde, Theodolinda, Þórlindur; Linddís, Lindolf, Lindvald, Lindvardh, Linveig very frequent as a second element in feminine names
liub, leof desirable, friendly Yes Leofric, Leofwine
liuti people Yes Liutger, Lutold; Liutgard
magan, megin; maht might, strength Yes Manfred, Maganradus/Meinrad; Mathilde, Meinfrida
*mēri-; mære, mer, mar, mir famous YesYesChlodomir, Miro, Filimer/Filimir, Marvin, Odomir, Ricimer, Theodemir, Theodemar, Thiudimer, Valamir, Waldemar, Vidimir/Widemir, Wulfmar/Wulfomir
mund protection Yes Edmund, Sigmund, Remismund, Rechimund
noþ, OHG nand[22] courage Yes Yes Nothhelm; Byrhtnoth, Eadnoth, Ferdinand, Wieland/Wayland
ræð counsel, wisdom Yes Yes Radegast, Radwig, Radulf; Alfred, Eadred, Conrad, Tancred, Wihtred; Ratberga/Redburga
ragin counsel Yes Raginald/Reginald/Reynold, Reginbert, Reginmund; Regintrud, Rægenhere, Ragnar
*remez, remis peace Yes Remisto, Remismund
run rune, secret Yes Gudrun, Walaruna
rīki-; OHG rihhi, AS rīc ruler YesYesRichard, Rechila, Rechiar, Rechimund, Richimir, Roderick, Sigeric, Theodoric, Henry, Eric, Godric
sax, seax seax; tribal name Yes Sexred; Seaxburh
sinþ, sind, siþ travel, time Yes Sindolf/Sindulf, Sindram, Sindbald, Sindbert Sinthgunt as "Sun's sister" in the Merseburg Incantations
sig, sigi, sige victory Yes YesSigborg/Siborg, Sigebald/Sibbald/Sibold, Sigbod/Sibot, Sigibert, Sibrand, Sigmar, Sigmund, Sighart, Sighelm, Sigher/Siger, Sigrad, Sigeric, Sigtrygg, Sigward, Sigwald, Sigulf/Sigewulf; Ælfsige;[9] Sigelinde/Siglind, Sigtrud possibly theophoric in origin, in reference to Teiwaz, and later Odin, the god of victory.[23] Hypocorisms Sigo, Sike, Sikke.
stan stone Yes Æthelstan, Thorsten, Wulfstan also in simplex Sten, from Scandinavian Steinn
swint, swiþ strength Yes Yes Swinthibald; Amalaswintha; Swinthila
tank thought, counsel Yes Tancred/Dancrad, Dancmar
trygg truth Yes Sigtrygg
wand, wandal wander, wend Yes 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 power Yes Yes Waldemar, Walther; Edwald, Frithuwold, Harold
warin; weard guardian Yes Yes Warinhari/Wernher/Werner; Brunward, Edward, Sigward; Freawaru, Ælfwaru
wiht wight, spirit Yes Wihtred
wil will, desire Yes Wilhelm, William
win, wini, wine, wyn(n) friend / joy Yes Yes Winibald, Winimund, Winibert; Ælfwine, Ecgwine, Edwin/Audoin, Erwin, Leofwine, Marvin, Oswin; Wynflæd; Ælfwynn, Ecgwynn, Brihtwyn
wig battle, war YesYes Wiglaf, Wigbert, Wigheard; Ludwig, Hedwig
wal(a), wel, wæl battle Yes Wieland/Wayland,[24] Walaman, Walarad, Walerand, Walaruna, Walesinda, Wala-anc, Walahelm, Walaram hypochoristic Wallia, Walica. c.f. Valhalla, Valkyrie, Valföðr etc.
wod (wad?) fury Yes 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.[25] 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".[26]
wid(u), wit wood, forest Yes Withhold, Widukind hypocorism Guido, Guy
wulf wolf YesYesAdolph, Aethelwulf, Beowulf, Cynewulf, Rudolph, Wulfstan, 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)
þeod people Yes Theodoric/Dietrich/Derick/Dirk, Detlef, Diether, Diethelm, Theobald, Dietfried, Theudebert, Theodemar; Dietlinde
*þegnaz, degen warrior, thane YesYes Degenhard, Degericus; Deitdegen, Edildegan, Drûtdegan, Heridegan, Swertdegan, Volcdegen
þryþ, drut force, strength Yes Yes Drutmund; Æthelthryth, Osthryth, Cynethryth, Ermintrude, Gertrude names with this suffix are feminine only; ON Þrúðr "Strength" is a daughter of Thor in Norse mythology. Hypocorism Trudy, Trudi
þonar, donar, þór (god of) thunder Yes (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 Yes Thusnelda (1st century; presubambly 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 names

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.

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 hypocorism 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 etymology

See also

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  1. e.g. the names of kings Penda, Pybba, Offa, Wuffa, or Sebbi, all Anglo-Saxons born in the 6th or 7th century
  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.
  5. c.f. OE ehtan
  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. 1 2 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. 1 2 apparently a Gothic name; perhaps from fardi "travel" (Förstemann, 401), perhaps also from frithu "protection".
  18. perhaps conflated with hild- from an early time.
  19. names with this second element have been conflated with names in -rad. Förstemann 1900:875.
  20. names with this second element are uncertain, most of the candidates could contain the simple suffix -ing. Förstemann 1900:877.
  21. Lena Peterson Nordiskt runnamnslexikon (2002)
  22. cognate to Old Irish néit "combat", see Pokorny (1959), p. 755.
  23. Yonge, p. 306.
  24. see Hellmut Rosenfeld, Der Name Wieland, Beiträge zur Namenforschung (1969)
  25. Förstemann, 1332f.
  26. Förstemann, 1224.

External links

Look up Appendix:Old English (Anglo-Saxon) surnames in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
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