Bernard meaning, boyBernard

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What does Bernard mean?

Bernard \b(e)-rna-rd, ber-nard\ as a boys' 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 A native Old English form, Beornheard, was superseded by the Norman form.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 variants: 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.

Bernard has 5 more related variations via Bernie, Bjorn: Berny, Bjarn, Bjarne, Bjorne and Bjornsterne.

Bernard has 2 feminine forms: Bernadette and Bernadine.


Bernard is a very prominent first name for men (#142 out of 1220, Top 12%) and also a very prominent surname for all people (#864 out of 150436, Top 1%). (2000 U.S. Census)

Charted below is the birth name popularity of Bernard for boys. Bernard reached its apex rank of #47 in the U.S. during the years 1920-1929, but is not in the Top 1000 currently. (2014 Birth 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 usage of the boy name Bernard and related names. Barney, Bernardo, Bernhard, Bernie, Berry and Bjorn are the prominent variation forms of Bernard listed in the Top 1000. These boy names were at the top of their popularity during the years 1900-1909 (usage of 0.4173%) and have become much less popular since, with forms such as Bernard, Bernardo, Bernhard, Bernie and Berry falling out of style. (2014 Birth 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 frequently used than Bernard.