Niall -> Njáll -> Neel, Niel, Nihel -> Nigellus -> Nigel
Region of origin
Nigel is an / / English masculine given name. The name is derived from the Latin Nigellus. This Latin word would seem to derive from the Latin niger, meaning "black"; however this is thought to be an example of an incorrect etymology created by French speaking clerics, who knew Latin as well, to translate the Norman first name Neel in the Latin written documents. Indeed, the Latin word nigellus gave birth to Old French neel (modern nielle), meaning “black enamel” (same word as niello) and it explains the confusion, because the clerics believed it was the same etymology as the first name Neel, spelled the same way. [1 ]
In fact, the Old Norman first name
Neel (modern surname Néel) derives itself from the Norse Njáll. The Norse Njáll, in turn, is derived from the Gaelic . Niall The English [2 ] Nigel is commonly found in records dating from the Middle Ages, however it was not used much before being revived by 19th century antiquarians, such as Sir Walter Scott who published in 1822. The Fortunes of Nigel Sir [3 ] Arthur Conan Doyle published in 1905/06. Nigel was a common name for boys born in Sir Nigel England and Wales during the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s (see below).
Nigel has never been as common in other countries, but was among the 1,000 most common names for boys born in the
United States from 1971 to 2010. Numbers peaked in 1994 when 447 were recorded (it being the 478th most common boys name that year). The peak popularity at 0.02% of boys names in 1994 compares to a peak popularity in England and Wales of about 1.2% in 1963, 60 times higher. [4 ]
Australian English it is a colloquial term for a male social misfit or a person without friends, originating from the name being unusual in the 1980s and alliterating with "no-friends". [5 ]
England and Wales [ edit ]
The following table shows the number of boys given the first name Nigel in specific years in England and Wales. Numbers peaked in about 1963.
[6 ] In 1964 it was the 24th most popular boys name. [7 ] [8 ]
Medieval figures [ edit ]
Notable men named Nigel [ edit ]
Nigel Ayers, multimedia artist
Nigel Barker, fashion photographer
Nigel John Taylor, bass player of Duran Duran
Nigel Benn, British boxer
Nigel Bennett, actor, director, and writer
Nigel Benson, writer and illustrator
Nigel Blackwell, English lead singer and guitarist of Half Man Half Biscuit
Nigel Bond, snooker player
Nigel Bruce, actor
Nigel Clough, British footballer
Nigel Davenport, actor
Nigel Dick, director, writer, and musician
Nigel Edwards, former Welsh professional footballer
Nigel Evans, British politician
Nigel Farage, British politician, MEP (UKIP)
Nigel Godrich, recording engineer and record producer
Nigel Gresley, steam locomotive engineer
Nigel Havers, actor
Nigel Hawthorne, actor
Nigel Haywood, Governor of the Falkland Islands
Nigel Hess, British composer
Nigel Horspool, Invented the Boyer–Moore–Horspool algorithm
Nigel Holmes, graphic designer
Nigel Irens, yacht designers
Nigel de Jong, Dutch footballer
Nigel Keay, violist and composer
Nigel Kennedy, violinist and violist
Nigel Kneale, scriptwriter
Nigel Latta, psychologist
Nigel Lawson, British politician, Chancellor of the Exchequer
Nigel Lythgoe English television, film director and producer
Nigel Mansell, British racing car driver
Nigel Martyn, British football goalkeeper
Nigel Marven, British wildlife television presenter, television producer, author, and hobby ornithologist
Nigel McGuinness, professional wrestler
Nigel Melville (born 1961), English rugby union player, coach, and administrator
Nigel Mitchell, British television presenter and radio presenter
Nigel Morris, cofounder of Capital One
Nigel Olsson, drummer for Elton John, solo recording artist
Nigel Pivaro, An English actor famous for his role as Terry Duckworth in Coronation Street
Nigel Planer, actor
Nigel Reo-Coker, An English footballer currently playing for Bolton Wanderers
Nigel Short, chess player
Nigel Smart, Australian rules footballer
Nigel Stock, actor who played Dr Watson
Nigel Watson, British blues-rock guitarist Nigel West, pen name of
Nigel Winterburn, former Arsenal and England footballer
Nigel Worthington, footballer and subsequently manager for, in turn, Blackpool, Norwich City, Leicester City and Northern Ireland
Fictional characters [ edit ]
Nigel Thornberry, fictional wildlife documentary producer from The Wild Thornberrys
Nigel Tufnel, lead guitarist for the fictional band Spinal Tap Nigel Olifaunt, Lord Glenvarloch, main character of Sir Walter Scott's novel
The Fortunes of Nigel
(Loring), a novel by Arthur Conan Doyle based on the life of Sir Nigel Neil Loring.
Nigel Pargetter, a character on the BBC radio soap opera The Archers Nigel Forrester, a character from
with whom Cloe falls in love Bratz Rock Angelz Nigel Uno, a fictional character from
Codename: Kids Next Door "
Making Plans For Nigel", 1979 New Wave hit for English group XTC
Nigel Powers (played by actor Michael Caine) is a character who appears in the third Austin Powers movie, , as the father of Austin Powers in Goldmember Austin Powers and Dr. Evil
Nigel Molesworth, schoolboy in 1950s humour books by Geoffrey Willans and Ronald Searle Nigel, the gangster ex-husband in Fredrik Bond's "
Charlie Countryman" Nigel "Nidge" Delaney, fictional character played by Tom Vaughan-Lawlor in RTE crime drama Love/Hate
Sir Nigel Irvine, SIS chief in Frederick Forsyth's spy fiction "
The Fourth Protocol". Nigel, a sadistic
Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo who was once a star, But became a bully in Rio (film) and Rio 2 Nigel Burke, the main character in
Surgeon Simulator 2013.
References [ edit ]
^ Origine et histoire des noms de famille, Marianne Mulon, editions errance, 2002. p 119.
^ "Neill Name Meaning and History". Ancestry.com . Retrieved 2 August 32009. For the etymology of the surname Neill this web page cites: Dictionary of American Family Names, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-508137-4.
^ Hanks, Patrick; Hodges, Flavia (2006). Hardcastle, Kate, ed. Oxford Dictionary of Names (2nd ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 205. ISBN 978-0-19-861060-1.
^ Popular baby names
^ Macquarie Australian English Dictionary, Macmillan Publishers Australia 2010
^ Extracted from indexes of births registered in England and Wales in www.ancestry.co.uk. Numbers for some years may contain some duplication with boys appearing twice in the index.
^ ONS Spreadsheet
^ ONS Spreadsheet