George (given name)

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2147 - Byzantine Museum, Athens - St. George (14th century) - Photo by Giovanni Dall'Orto, Nov 12 2009.jpg
Byzantine icon of Saint George (14th century)
Name dayApril 23
Word/nameGreek: Γεώργιος (Georgios)
Other names
Related namesGeorgios, Georgius; numerous regional forms.

George is a widespread masculine given name, derived from the Greek Γεώργιος (Geōrgios) through the Latin Georgius. Its popularity is due to the widespread veneration of the Christian military saint Saint George (George of Lydda, d. 303). The Greek name as given in the Roman era may ultimately derive from the name of Zeus Georgos, an epithet of Zeus in his aspect as the god of crops.

Even though the saint has been considered a patron saint of England since the 15th or 16th century, the given name was rarely given in English prior to the accession of German-born George I of Great Britain in 1714.

The derived feminine form is Γεωργία (Geōrgia), Latinized (and anglicized) as Georgia (Georgina, Georgiana, Georgeanna).[1]


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.[2] Geōrgós was one of Zeus's epithets in Athens: Ζεύς Γεωργός (Zeus Geōrgos), the god of crops and harvest.[3][4]

Aelius Herodianus in the 2nd century lists Georgios alongside Demetrios and Ammonios as a theophoric name derived from the theonym by suffixing -ios.[5] 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 became used more widely among Christians, as an adopted baptismal or monastic name, throughout the Eastern Empire. By the 7th century, at least 25 bishops in Anatolia and the Aegean had taken the saint's name. The veneration of Saint George is established for the 5th century. In the Western Church, he was canonized by Pope Gelasius I in 496, but the given name Georgius was only rarely used. Georgius (Giorgo) was a comparatively rarely given name in Italy and Gaul in the 6th and 7th century. The name had a first surge of popularity in the 12th century, when Saint George became popular as a military saint of the crusades.

In the late 7th century, when much of the former Eastern Empire fell to the Islamic expansion, 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 who had adopted the name Georgios (Giorgo) were no rarity.[6] The given name did not, however, establish itself among laymen in the West in the early medieval period.

The saint's special veneration as a military saint is a product of the High Middle Ages. His association with the dragon is due to the Golden Legend of c. 1260. The cult of St. George was greatly boosted during the age of the Crusades, and the name was widespread at the European courts by the 13th century. His veneration played a role in the Reconquista. A war cry of "Sant Jordi! Firam! Firam!" is recorded in the context of the Almoravid attacks on Barcelona in the 12th century.[7][8] Similarly, the English knights used to go into battle with the cry "by George", as St. George was their patron saint[citation needed].

In medieval Germany, non-German names were very rare prior to the 12th century. Apostles' names such as Johannes (Hans), Petrus (Peter), Paulus (Paul), Jacobus (Jakob), Philippus (Philipp), as well as saints' names such as Christoph, Martin and Georg make their first appearance in the 12th century.[9] The name Georg again surges in popularity in courtly circles after 1260, due to the dragon narrative in the Golden Legend. However, George does not become a frequently given name in Western Europe prior to the end of the medieval period, with a gradual rise in popularity during the late 15th to early 16th centuries. In Britain, despite St George gradually becoming seen as the patron of England towards the end of the medieval period, the name did not become popular until the 18th century after the accession of George I of Great Britain in 1714.

George was the fourth-most popular masculine given name in the United States during the 1880s. Its popularity has declined steadily during the twentieth century, to #130 in 2000. It reached #166 in 2012 and has since slightly risen in popularity, to #123 as of 2017.[10] [11] The same trend occurred in France: it was one of the top ten in the early twentieth century, but has fallen to #20. The name George has fared much better for baby boys in the United Kingdom, ranking at #8 in the top ten baby names in 2017 and #4 in 2018.

People with the given name[edit]

Late antiquity to early medieval[edit]

High to late medieval[edit]

Renaissance to modern[edit]

See: All pages with titles beginning with George

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.

Eastern Christendom and Middle East
  • Greek
    • Koine Greek: Γεώργιος (Geṓrgios /ɣeˈor.ɣi.os/)
    • Modern Greek : Γεώργιος (Geórgios /ʝeˈor.ʝi.os/), Γιώργος (Giórgos /ˈʝor.ɣos/), fem. Γεωργία (Georgia); Τζορτζ (Tzortz) is the Greek rendition of the English given name George
  • Coptic: Ⲅⲉⲟⲣⲅⲓⲟⲥ (Georgios)
  • Armenian: Գևորգ (Gevorg), Western Armenian: Kevork
  • Georgian: გიორგი (Giorgi), გიო/გია (Gio/Gia - both masculine), გოგი/გოგა (Gogi/Goga - both masculine)
  • Slavic
    • East
    • South
      • Bulgarian: Георги (Georgi)
      • Serbian:
        • Cyrillic: Ђорђе, Ђорђо, Ђукан, Ђурађ, Ђурђе, Ђоко, Ђока, Ђуро, Ђура
        • Latin: Đorđe, Đorđo, Đukan, Đurađ, Đurđe, Đoko, Đoka, Đuro, Đura
      • Macedonian: Ѓорѓи (Gjorgji), Ѓорѓе (Gjorgje), Ѓорѓија (Gjorgjija), Ѓоко (Gjoko)
  • Albanian: Gjergj, Jorgo, Gjorgj
  • Semitic
  • Turkish: In Islamic contexts, the name is rendered Cercis, Circis, Curcis (Ottoman Turkish جرجس). The Christian given name is rendered Yorgi (after the modern Greek pronunciation).
  • Persian: جرجیس (Jurjis); in contemporary Persian, the German form Georg is rendered گئورگ, the French form Georges is rendered ژرژ , and the English form George is rendered جورج .[citation needed]
Western Christendom
South /East Asia
  • Malayalam: the name of the Saint is rendered ഗീവര്ഗീസ് Geevarghese; the English form is rendered ജോർജ്ജ് Jēārjj
  • Tamil: ஜார்ஜ் Jārj
  • Hindi: the English form is rendered जॉर्ज Jorj.
  • Japanese: ジョージ (Jōji)
  • Korean: 조지 (Joji)
  • Chinese: 乔治 (Qiáozhì - simplified), 喬治 (Qiáozhì - traditional)
  • Tibetan རྡོ་རྗེ། (rdo rje)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ George has also been rarely given as a feminine name in the United States in the late 19th to early 20th century; see
  2. ^ γεωργ-ός, γεωργ-έω in Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon.
  3. ^ Jan N. Bremmer, Andrew Erskine, The Gods of Ancient Greece: Identities and Transformations, p. 104, Edinburgh University Press, 2010
  4. ^ Michael York, Pagan Theology: Paganism As A World Religion, p. 132, NYU Press, 2005
  5. ^ 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.
  6. ^ 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. "Already immensely popular in the East, where before the end of the seventh century over twenty-five bishops in dioceses located in southwestern Anatolia and along the Aegean seacoast had taken the name of the illustrious soldier/martyr, Georgios quickly became a favourite in the West as well. Among the thirty-two occurrences of the name Georgios in the clergy of the church of Rome, none predates the year 651"
  7. ^ Amades, Joan. "La Reconquesta de Barcelona". Retrieved 24 January 2018.
  8. ^ Amades, Joan. "The Reconquest of Barcelona". Google Translation of the La Reconquesta de Barcelona Reference. Retrieved 24 January 2018.
  9. ^ Albert Heintze, Die Deutschen Familien-Namen (2013), p. 25
  10. ^
  11. ^ 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)
  12. ^ al-Maarri, Abu l-Ala. Epistle of Forgiveness: Hypocrites, Heretics, and Other Sinners. NYU Press. p. 282. ISBN 9780814768969.
  13. ^ Halevi, Leor. Muhammad's Grave: Death Rites and the Making of Islamic Society. Columbia University Press. p. 20. ISBN 9780231511933.