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For other uses, see Eric (disambiguation).
Eric, Erik, Erick
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
Pronunciation /ˈɛrɪk/
Gender Male
Language(s) Scandinavian
Name day May 18
(Sweden & Norway)
Word/name Old Norse
Meaning one, alone, ruler, prince, powerful, rich
Other names
Derived Eiríkr

The given name Eric, Erik, or Erick is derived from the Old Norse name Eiríkr (or Æinrikr in Eastern Scandinavia due to monophthongization). The first element, ei- is derived either from the older Proto-Norse *aina(z) meaning "one" or "alone"[1] or from Proto-Norse *aiwa(z) meaning "ever" or "eternal".[2] The second element -ríkr derives either from *rík(a)z meaning "ruler" or "prince" (cf. Gothic reiks) or from an even older Proto-Germanic *ríkiaz which meant "powerful" and "rich".[3] The name is thus usually taken to mean "one ruler", "autocrat", "eternal ruler" or "ever powerful", "warrior", and "government".[4]

The most common spelling in Scandinavia 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 Invasion. 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 Frederick William Farrar in 1858.

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

The feminine derivative is Erica or Erika.





Given name[edit]

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).
  2. ^ Erik - Nordic Names Wiki - Name Origin, Meaning and Statistics. 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.