With Irish origins, Oscar is a popular given name for boys in Sweden, the United States, the United Kingdom, and other regions. By studying its etymology, I’ve learned the meaning of the name Oscar and what it represents.
Meaning of the name Oscar: Derived the Irish language, the meaning of the name Oscar is “deer-loving,” “friend of deer” or “beloved by deer.” The name consists of two Irish words: os and car. The former of which means “deer,” while the latter means “loving.”
Origins of the Name Oscar
The origins of the name Oscar can be traced back to Ancient Ireland, during which it first appeared in mythical literature. In Irish mythology, Oscar was the son of Oisin and brother of Plor na mBan. He appeared in numerous Irish folk tales, including Fenian stories. In “The Battle of Gabhra,” Oscar lands a fatal on blow on his enemy, Fianna, but is also struck by Fianna’s chains during the process. Oscar dies as a result, though his death compels Fianna to exhibit emotion by crying for the first time in his life.
Etymologists believe that the first written use of the name Oscar was in Irish mythology, specifically referring to the son of Oisin. However, the name itself was likely derived from the Gaelic words os and car. These words were essentially joined to form Oscar, which has since become a popular masculine name.
The popularity of the Name Oscar
Oscar is a popular masculine name in several countries. In 1880, 544 newborn boys in the United States were named Oscar, making it the 29th most popular boys’ name. In 1920, Oscar was the 90th most popular boys’ name in the country. By 1960, however, it dropped to the 245th most popular boys’ name, followed by the 162nd most popular boys’ name in 2011.
In Sweden, Oscar is even more popular than in the United States. Birth records show that Oscar was the 3rd most popular boys’ name in Sweden in 2013.
Aside from its presence in Irish mythology, the name Oscar was popularized in Scottish poetry. In the 1700s, Scottish poet James Macpherson created a series of poems, some of which contained stories about a man named Oscar. Napoleon was a fan of Macpherson – so much, in fact, that he named his son Oscar. Napoleon’s son would later become King Oscar I of Sweden, introducing the name Oscar to millions of people.
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