Geoffrey (given name)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Pronunciation ge-off
Gender masculine
Region of origin Francia, medieval France, Norman England
Other names
Derived Godfried, Gottfried, Godfrey
Related names Jeffrey, Geoff, Jeff, Jeffory

Geoffrey is a French and English masculine given name. It is the Anglo-Norman form of the Germanic compound *guda- "god" and friþu "peace".[1] It is a cognate of Dutch Godfried and German Gottfried.

It was introduced to Norman England alongside the form Godfrey. It was also anglicized as Jeffrey from an early time. Popularity of the name declined after the medieval period, but it was revived in the 20th century. Modern hypocorisms include Geoff, Jeff or Geof.

Jeffrey and its variants are found as surnames, usually as a patronymic ending in -s (e.g. Jefferies, Jaffrays); The surname Jefferson is also a patronymic version of the given name.


The Old French form of the name was Geoffrei ([dʒɔfreʲ]), which developed into West Middle French Geoffrey and East Middle French Geoffroy.

Latinized forms include Jotfredus, Jozsfredus, Josfredus (10th century) and Jof[f]redus, Jofridus, Jaufredus, Geffredus (11th century).[2]

The original spelling with Jo- was modified in Geo-. The graphic e after G is used in French to avoid the pronunciation [go], but [dʒɔ] instead. The spelling Geo- is probably due to the influence of the first name Georges, scholar version for Old French Jorre, Joire, which are original popular forms.

The Old Frankish name Godefrid itself is from the Germanic elements god- and frid-. The Middle Latin form is Godefridus (whence also Godfrey). The second element is widely used in Germanic names, and has a meaning of "peace, protection". The first element god- is conflated from two, or possibly three, distinct roots, i.e. got and possibly *gaut, in origin a tribal name (Geats, Goths) or a theonym (a byname of Wotan).[3]

Albert Dauzat (1951, rev. ed. 1980) followed by others, argued that the Middle French name Geoffrey in fact retains a distinction between two Germanic names which became conflated in the Middle Ages. According to this argument, Godfrey continues *goda-friþu-, while Geoffroy continues *gaut-friþu-.[4] If a strictly phonetical development is assumed, Geoffrey cannot be derived from Godfrid, as *go- would result in Old French go- ([gɔ]) and not geo- (jo-, [dʒɔ]), i.e. goda-fridu would yield Godefroy [godfrwa] but not Geoffroy. On the other hand, *gau- [gaʷ] would regularly result in jo- (geo- [dʒɔ]),[5]i.e *gaut-fridu- would regularly result in Geoffroy [dʒɔf:rwa].

Alternative suggestions which would derive the first element from Germanic gisal- "hostage", or w(e)alah "Gallo-Roman; stranger" are also rejected by Dauzat as phonetically impossible: gi would have resulted in Old French [dʒi] (Modern French [ʒi]), as in Gisalbert > Gilbert (i.e. *Gisalfrid>*Giffrey), and *w(e)alh- would have resulted in *gaul- [gol] (i.e. *Wealhfrid > *Gaulfrey, *Gauffrey).


Variants and hypocorisms of the name include:

List of people called Geoffrey[edit]

In television and film[edit]

In sports[edit]

Geoffrey Garner Consummate Equal Employment Opportunity Officer, United States Army Military Police Retired

In literature[edit]

In music[edit]

In politics[edit]

In history[edit]

In military[edit]

In other fields[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ Louis Guinet, Les emprunts gallo-romans au germanique (du Ier siècle à la fin du Ve siècle), éditions Klincksieck, 1982.
  3. ^ Ernst Förstemann, Altdeutsches Namenbuch (1856), 533.
  4. ^ Albert Dauzat, Noms et prénoms de France, édition revue et commentée par Marie-Thérèse Morlet, Librairie Larousse 1980, pp. 287b - 288a - 296ab.
  5. ^ for example, Late Latin *gauta gave Old French jöe and Modern French joue "cheek", and Latin gaudia gave French joie "joy". . In the history of the French language, there is a regular palatalization (sound change) of [g] > [dʒ] > [ʒ], before [a], [ɛ], [e], [i], but not before [o], [u], where [g] was maintained.