Bernard meaning, boyBernard

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Meaning and name origin

Bernard \b(e)-rna-rd, ber-nard\ as a boy's name is pronounced ber-NARD. It is of Old French and Old German origin, and the meaning of Bernard is "strong, brave bear". Three famous medieval saints bore the name: a founder of a monastic order, the patron saint of mountain climbers, and a scholastic philosopher. Brought to England with the Norman Conquest. A native Old English form, Beornheard, was superseded by the Norman form. Fairly common until the 18th century, and revived somewhat around 1920, but now unusual. See also Bjorn. Playwright George Bernard Shaw; statesman Bernard M. Baruch; film director Bernardo Bertolucci; art critic Bernard Berenson; comedian Bernie Mack.


Bernard has 23 variant forms: Barnard, Barnardo, Barney, Barnhard, Barnhardo, Barnie, Barny, Bear, Bearnard, Berend, Bern, Bernardino, Bernardo, Bernarr, Bernd, Berndt, Bernhard, Bernhardo, Bernie, Bernis, Bernt, Burnard and Vernados.

For more information, see also the related boy name Berry.

There are 2 feminine forms of Bernard: Bernadette and Bernadine.


Bernard is a very popular first name for males (#142 out of 1220, Top 12%) and also a very popular surname or last name for all people (#830 out of 88799, Top 1%) (2000 U.S. Census).

Displayed below is the baby name popularity of the name Bernard for boys. Bernard reached its highest rank of #47 in the U.S. in 1920-1929. (2014 statistics).

Top 1000 baby names ranking of Bernard name in U.S.

Top 100 baby names ranking of Bernard outside U.S.

Displayed below is a comparison of the popularity of the boy name Bernard and its variant forms. Popular variation forms ranked in the Top 1000/100 are Berry, Bjorn, Bernie, Bernhard, Bernard, Bernardo and Barney. (2014 statistics).

Top 1000 baby names ranking of Barney, Bernard, Bernardo, Bernhard, Bernie, Berry in U.S.

Top 100 baby names ranking of Bjorn outside U.S.

Similar Names

Suggested similar baby names are Bernald and Vernard. These names tend to be less commonly used than Bernard.