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Eric, Erich, Erik, Erick, Erikk
Eric little by little title page.jpg
Title page from 1891 edition of the book Eric, or, Little by Little, whose popularity is credited with increasing the use of the name Eric in Britain
PronunciationEnglish: /ˈɛrɪk/ ERR-ik
French: [eʁik]
Romanian: [ˈerik]
Swedish: [ˈêːrɪk]
Dutch: [ˈeːrɪk] (About this soundlisten)
German: [ˈeːʁɪç] (About this soundlisten)
Language(s)North Germanic
Name daySweden & Norway: May 18
Word/nameOld Norse
Meaning"sole ruler",
"eternal ruler"
Region of originGermania
Other names
Variant form(s)Eiríkr

The given name Eric, Erich, Erikk, Erik, or Erick is derived from the Old Norse name Eiríkr (or Eríkr in Eastern Old Norse due to monophthongization). The first element, ei- is derived either from the older Proto-Norse *aina(z), meaning "one, alone, unique",[1] as in the form Æinrikr explicitly, or from *aiwa(z) "everlasting, eternity".[2] The second element -ríkr stems either from *ríks "king, ruler" (cf. Gothic reiks) or from the therefrom derived *ríkijaz "kingly, powerful, rich, prince".[3] The name is thus usually taken to mean "sole ruler, autocrat" or "eternal ruler, ever powerful".[4]

The most common spelling in Scandinavia and the Netherlands is Erik. In Norway, another form of the name (which has kept the Old Norse diphthong) Eirik is also commonly used.[5] In Finland, the form Erkki is also used. The modern Icelandic version is Eiríkur,[6][7][8] while the modern Faroese version is Eirikur. Éric [eʁik] is used in French, and in Germany Eric, Erik and Erich are used.[9]

Although the name was in use in Anglo-Saxon England, its use was reinforced by Scandinavian settlers arriving before the Norman conquest of England. It was an uncommon name in England until the Middle Ages, when it gained popularity, and finally became a common name in the 19th century. This was partly because of the publishing of the novel Eric, or, Little by Little by Frederic Farrar in 1858.

In Norway, Sweden and Finland, the name day for Erik and Eirik is 18 May, commemorating the death of Saint Eric IX of Sweden.

The feminine derivative is Erica or Erika.





Given name[edit]

Eric, Erich, and Erik are very common given names. The below list is a sampling. See All pages with titles beginning with Eric, All pages with titles beginning with Erich, and All pages with titles beginning with Erik for comprehensive lists.

Fictional characters[edit]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Entries "Æiríkʀ", "Æi-", in: Nordiskt runnamnslexikon (2002) by Lena Peterson at the Swedish Institute for Linguistics and Heritage (Institutet för språk och folkminnen). Entry "EIN" at Nordic Names. Retrieved 19 June 2017.
  2. ^ Entry "Erik" at Nordic Names Wiki. Retrieved 1 February 2013.
  3. ^ Entries "Æiríkʀ", "Ríkʀ" and "-ríkʀ" in Nordiskt runnamnslexikon (2002) by Lena Peterson at the Swedish Institute for Linguistics and Heritage (Institutet för språk och folkminnen).
  4. ^ Frank Nuessel (1992). The Study of Names: A Guide to the Principles and Topics. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. p. 11. Retrieved 11 September 2013.  – via Questia (subscription required)
  5. ^ In November 2008, there were 20,000 men named Erik in Norway (appr. 0.9% of the male pop.) and 13,000 named Eirik (0.8%). Source: Statistics Norway,
  6. ^ Behind The Name
  7. ^ Etymology Online
  8. ^ United States Social Security Database
  9. ^ Gesellschaft für deutsche Sprache (GfdS): Beliebteste Vornamen. Retrieved 1 February 2013.