What does Percival mean?
Percival \p(e)-rci-val, per-cival\ as a boys' name is of Old French origin, and the meaning of Percival is "pierce the vale". Invented by a medieval poet in the 12th century for one of King Arthur's knights. His virtue was so great that he alone could retrieve the elusive Holy Grail, the chalice from Christ's Last Supper. Wagner's opera Parsifal is based on this knight's tale.
Percival is a rare first name for males but a very popular surname for both adults and children (#11325 out of 88799, Top 13%). (2000 U.S. Census)
Shown below is the birth name popularity of Percival for boys. Percival reached its highest rank of #837 in the U.S. then, but is not in the list currently. (Top 1000 Birth Names Records, 2014)
Shown below is a comparison of the usage of the boy name Percival and corresponding names. The only other prominent varying form of Percival is Percy. Adoption of this boy name was at its peak during 1880-1889 and is now significantly less, with the version Percy becoming less in vogue. (Top 1000 Birth Names Records, 2014)