What does Percival mean?
Percival /per-ci-val/ [3 sylls.] 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.
How popular is Percival?
Percival is a rare first name for males but a very popular surname for both adults and children (#9475 out of 150436, Top 6%). (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. in the 1880s, but is not in the Top 1000 currently. (2014 Birth Statistics)
Shown below is a comparison of the usage of the boy name Percival and corresponding names. The only other prominent varying form of Percival ranked in the Top 1000 is Percy. Adoption of these boy names was at its peak during the years 1880-1889 (usage of 0.5215%) and is now significantly less, with the version Percy becoming less in vogue. (2014 Birth Statistics)