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What does Percival mean?

Percival [per-ci-val] 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.

Associated with: medieval, king, great, tale (literary).


Percival has 10 variants: Parsafal, Parsefal, Parsifal, Perce, Perceval, Percevall, Percey, Percivall, Percy and Purcell.

Kreatif forms:
(male) Prescival, Procival, ..

(female) Perciphil, Percita, ..

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)


Ranking and usage % can show different trends depending on the distribution of names that year.

Shown below is the birth name statistics of Percival for boys. Percival reached its highest rank of #808 in the U.S. in the 1880s, but is not in the Top 1000 currently. (2014 Birth Statistics)

Top 2000 baby names ranking of Percival name in U.S.

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

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 2000 is Percy. Adoption of these relations of Percival was more pronounced among parents a century ago (average #561), but now, the version Percy has become less in vogue.

Top 2000 baby names ranking of Percival, Percy in U.S.

Top 100 baby names ranking of Percival and related baby names outside U.S.

Similar Names


Recommended names are Bernal, Deval, Feisal, Fergal, Meical, Norval, Orval, Pascal, Paschal, Pascual, Peal, Percie, Perdido, Perkin, Perkins, Perl, Pernell, Perrie, Perrin, Poriel, Terryal and Vernal. These names tend to be more commonly used than Percival.