George (given name)

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Saint george raphael.jpg
Pronunciation /ˈɔːr/
Gender Mainly Male
Name day April 23
Word/name Greek: Γεώργιος (Georgios)
Meaning He who works the land
Other names
Related names Georgios, Giorgos, გიორგი (Giorgi), Георги (Georgi), Giorgio, Georgia, Georgina, Georgette, Georgetta, Gjergj, Gogo, Jorge, Jørgen, Jay, Joe, Jurayj, Örjan, Yuri, Yrjö.

George is a widespread given name, derived from the Greek Γεώργιος (Geōrgios) through the Latin Georgius. While it is commonly a masculine name, in English it is also sometimes given as a feminine name. Its popularity is due to the widespread veneration of the Christian military saint Saint George (George of Lydda c. 275/281–303).[citation needed]

The name derives in origin from the name of Zeus Georgos, worshipped as a god of crops.


The noun γεωργός geōrgós "husbandman, farmer" and the verb γεωργέω geōrgéō "to be a farmer; to plow, till, cultivate" are attested in Attic Greek, in the works of Plato and Aristophanes.[1] Geōrgós was one of Zeus's epithets in Athens: Ζεύς Γεωργός (Zeus Geōrgos), the god of crops and harvest.[2][3] Aelius Herodianus in the 2nd century lists Georgios alongside Demetrios and Ammonios as a theophoric name derived from the theonym by suffixing -ios.[4] It is likely that the historical Saint George (Georgios) was born in Lydda, Syria Palaestina in c. 280 as the son of a Greek Christian nobleman from Cappadocia. After his martyrdom in 303, the name Georgios soon became used more widely among Christians in the Eastern Empire.

By the 7th century, at least 25 bishops in Anatolia and the Aegean had taken the saint's name. In the late 7th century, when much of the former Eastern Empire fell to the Rashidun conquests, refugees came to Byzantine-controlled Rome and during that time, "eastern" names began to gain popularity in the Latin world. The cult of St. George was probably brought to Italy by soldiers from the Anatolic Theme, and established itself from about the mid-7th century; by the 680s, Roman priests named Georgios were no rarity.[5] The given name did not, however, establish itself in the west among laymen until the end of the early medieval period. The cult of St. George was greatly boosted during the age of the Crusades (see also Golden Legend), and the name was widespread at the European courts by the 13th century.

Medieval use[edit]

In the Middle Ages, Catalan and Occitan knights used the war cry "Sant Jordi! Firam! Firam!"[citation needed]. Similarly, the English knights used to go into battle with the cry "by George", as St. George was their patron saint[citation needed].

Religious leaders[edit]


Kingdom of Greece
Kievan Rus', Grand Duchy of Moscow
Second Bulgarian Empire
Rumelia (Balkans)
Kingdom of Portugal

Notable people[edit]

Modern use[edit]

In Germany, the name has been popular since the Middle Ages, declining later use. In Britain, despite St. George being the patron of England since the 14th century, the name did not become popular until the 18th century following the accession of George I of Great Britain.

In the United States, statistics from the mid-19th century placed the name among the five most popular baby names. The trend continued until the 1950s, when the name began to lose popularity.[6] It was the seventh popular name in 1925, whereas it was not included in the top ten boys' name list of 1972.[6]

The same trend occurred in France as one of the top ten in the early 20th century, has come to be at position 20.

International variant forms[edit]

The name of Saint George was adopted in vernacular languages throughout Christendom and due to language change has given rise to a variety of regional forms.

  • Albanian: Gjergj, Jorgo, Gjorgj
  • Armenian: Գեվ (Gev), Գեվոր (Gevor), Գեվորգ (Gevorg), Գեւորգ (Kevork)
  • Amharic: ጊዮርጊስ (Giorgis)
  • Egyptian: جرجس (Gerges)
  • Arabic: جرج (Jurj), جورج (George), خضر (Khodor), جرجس (Girgis), جورايج (Jurayj)[7][8]
  • Basque: Gorka
  • Hungarian: György
  • Georgian: გიორგი (Giorgi), გიო/გია (Gio/Gia - both masculine), გოგი/გოგა (Gogi/Goga - both masculine)
  • Greek: Γεώργιος (Georgios), Γιώργος (Giorgos), Γεωργία (Georgia)
  • Coptic: Ⲅⲉⲟⲣⲅⲓⲟⲥ (Georgios)
  • Japanese: ジョージ (Jōji)
  • Malayalam: ഗീവര്ഗീസ് (Geevarghese), Varghese, Varkey
  • Maltese: Ġorġ, Ġorġa
  • Persian: گئورگ (Georg)
  • Tigrinya: Gergish
  • Turkish: Yorgi

See also[edit]


  1. ^ γεωργ-ός, γεωργ-έω in Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon.
  2. ^ Jan N. Bremmer, Andrew Erskine, The Gods of Ancient Greece: Identities and Transformations, p. 104, Edinburgh University Press, 2010
  3. ^ Michael York, Pagan Theology: Paganism As A World Religion, p. 132, NYU Press, 2005
  4. ^ J.F. Boissonade, Herodiani partitiones (= Ἐπιμερισμοί, e codd. Paris. 2543 + 2570). London, 1819 (repr. Amsterdam: Hakkert, 1963), 172. Τὰ διὰ τοῦ ιος προπαροξύτονα ὀνόματα, κύριά τε καὶ ἐπίθετα, καὶ ἀπὸ τόπου λαμβανόμενα, διὰ τοῦ ἰῶτα γράφονται· κύρια μέν· οἷον· Γεώργιος· Δημήτριος· Ἀμμώνιος· ἐπίθετα δέ· οἷον· ἅγιος· κύριος· ὅσιος· λόγιος· ἄξιος· καὶ τὰ λοιπά· ἀπὸ τόπου δὲ λαμβανόμενα· οἷον· Ῥόδιος· Κύπριος· Βυζάντιος· καὶ τὰ ὅμοια.
  5. ^ Andrew J. Ekonomou, Byzantine Rome and the Greek Popes: Eastern Influences on Rome and the Papacy from Gregory the Great to Zacharias, A.D. 590-752, Lexington Books, 2007, ISBN 9780739119778, p. 213
  6. ^ a b Frank Nuessel (1992). The Study of Names: A Guide to the Principles and Topics. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. p. 10. Retrieved 11 September 2013.   – via Questia (subscription required)
  7. ^ al-Maarri, Abu l-Ala. Epistle of Forgiveness: Hypocrites, Heretics, and Other Sinners. NYU Press. p. 282. ISBN 9780814768969. 
  8. ^ Halevi, Leor. Muhammad's Grave: Death Rites and the Making of Islamic Society. Columbia University Press. p. 20. ISBN 9780231511933.