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Pronunciation German pronunciation: [ˈaːdɔlf]
Gender Male
Language(s) German
Meaning Noble wolf

Adolf, also spelled Adolph and sometimes Latinised to Adolphus, is a given name used in German-speaking countries, in Scandinavia, in the Netherlands and Flanders and to a lesser extent in various Central European countries. Adolphus can also appear as a surname, as in John Adolphus, the English historian.

The name is a compound derived from the Old High German Athalwolf, a composition of athal, or adal, meaning noble, and wolf; compare Rudolf. The name is cognate to the Anglo-Saxon name Æthelwulf (also Eadulf or Eadwulf.)

Popularity and usage[edit]

During the 19th and early 20th century, Adolf was a common name for babies in German-speaking countries. However, because of negative associations with the dictator of Nazi Germany Adolf Hitler, it has become rare as a given name for males since the end of World War II.[1] It remains common among people born before the war. Adolf Dassler, the founder of Adidas, ended up using the nickname 'Adi' in his professional life and for the name of his company.[2]

Similarly, the French version, Adolphe—previously a fairly common name in France and the name of a classic French novel—has virtually disappeared, along with Italian Adolfo.

However, the Spanish and Portuguese version, Adolfo, has not become stigmatised in the same way. It is still in common use in Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking countries.[3]

In the Netherlands many men who had been given the name Adolf changed their name to Dolf after World War II.[citation needed]

Monarchs and noblemen[edit]


People with the given name Adolf, Adolph(e), or Adolphus or any other form[edit]

He changed his first name to Arthur due to personal dislike for the name Adolph. Contrary to popular belief, even though he was Jewish, the change had nothing to do with Hitler, or with Germany, as he changed his name in 1911, long before World War 2, or even World War 1. He simply disliked the name.

People with the surname Adolphus[edit]

Fictional characters[edit]

  • Adolphus Cusins, a character in Major Barbara by George Bernard Shaw
  • Dolph Starbeam, a character in the animated sitcom The Simpsons
  • Dolph, an antagonist on the animated series Alfred Jodocus Kwak
  • Adolf Kamil and Adolf Kaufmann, title characters of the manga Adolf by Osamu Tezuka
  • Saint Adolphus, a character in Ken Follett's The Pillars of the Earth
  • Adolf K. Weismann, also known as Yashiro Isana, is the main protagonist in the anime series K

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Name Adolf statistics and meaning / Vorname Adolf * Statistik und Bedeutung". Retrieved 4 June 2012. 
  2. ^ "History". Archived from the original on 2015-02-08. Retrieved 2017-06-06. 
  3. ^ "Adolfo - Baby Boy Name Meaning and Origin | Oh Baby! Names". Retrieved 2017-06-06.