Although it was first used as a surname in Europe, Norman has since become a popular given name. After digging into its European origins, I’ve discovered the meaning of the name Norman.
Meaning of the name Norman: The meaning of the name Norman is “northerner,” “Northman” or “man from the north.” This in reference to the Vikings of Normandy, France who were collectively called Normans.
Origins of the Name Norman
Norman was used as a surname in English, German, Scottish and Norwegian cultures long before it was as a given name. However, its use as a given name can be traced back to the Norman Invasions of England in 1066. During this time, an army of Norman and allied soldiers invaded England, with the army’s leader, Duke Willian II, temporarily claiming the throne of England. While England eventually regained control of its land, these invasions introduced the local English population to the name Norman.
The Normans called themselves “Normans” because it reflected their culture. The name itself consists of two separate Germanic words: Nord and man, with Nord meaning “north” and man meaning “man.” When looking at a world map, you’ll see that Normandy, France – the native land of the Normans – is found on the northern edge of Europe, making this a fitting name for its people.
According to Wikipedia, Norman was used as a given name in England prior to the Norman Invasions in 1066, though it wasn’t widely known at the time. Norman didn’t become an accepted given name in Europe until the Normans invaded the country, during which they brought the name to England.
The popularity of the Name Norman
Norman has maintained strong popularity as a given name for boys. In 1880, it was the 133rd most popular boys’ name in the United States. In 1920, it ranked as the 47th most popular boys’ name in the country. Norman peaked in 1932 and 1933, during which it ranked as the 37th most popular boys’ name in the United States.
Many famous men have been named Norman. Norman Lloyd was an American actor and director who’s worked on dozens of Hollywood movies and TV shows, while Norman Gibbs was a football quarterback for the Canadian Football League. Other famous men named Norman to include Australian puppeteer Norman Hetherington, American producer Norman Lear, Canadian geologist Norman Bowen, American jazz musician Norman Bates, English historian Norman Davies, an American writer Norman Mailer.
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