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Rolf is a male given name and a surname. It originates in the Germanic name Hrolf, itself a contraction of Hrodwulf (Rudolf), a conjunction of the stem words hrod ("renown") + wulf ("wolf"). The Old Norse cognate is Hrólfr.
The oldest evidence of the use of the name Rolf in Sweden is an inscription from the 11th century on a runestone in Mukilteo, Småland. Thee name also appears in Orkneyinga saga, where a scion of the jarls of Orkney, Gånge-Rolf, is said to be identical to the viking Rollo who captured Normandy in 911. Rolf is a first name or part of a double name in Sweden, Norway, Germany, Finland and Denmark, and to a lesser extent in Iceland.
In Europe the name Rolf is most popular in Sweden where, as of December 31, 2012, there were 54,737 people with Rolf as their first name or part of a double name. At the same time there were 511 people in Sweden with Rolf as their last name. As a given name, Rolf reached its peak in popularity in the decade of the 1960s.
An alternate but less common variation of Rolf in Norway is Rolv.
Notable Rolfs or Hrolfs include:
- Hrólf Kraki, legendary king of Denmark
- Hrolf Ganger, Norwegian jarl
- Rolf Beeler, Swiss cheese entrepreneur
- Rolf-Göran Bengtsson (born 1962), Swedish equestrian jumper
- Rolf Benirschke, American footballer and game show host
- Rolf Billberg (1930-1966), Swedish musician
- Rolf Ekéus, Swedish diplomat
- Rolf Ericson (1922-1997), Swedish musician
- Rolf Falk-Larssen (born 1960), Norwegian speed skater
- Rolf G. Fjelde (1926–2002), American playwright, educator and poet
- Rolf Forsberg (born 1925), Swedish-American playwright, film and theater director
- Rolf Gindorf (born 1939), German sexologist
- Rolf Gölz (born 1962), German road and track cyclist
- Rolf Groven (born 1943), Norwegian painter
- Rolf Harris, Australian entertainer
- Rolf Hauge (officer) (1915–1989), Norwegian army officer
- Rolf Hochhuth (born 1931), German author and playwright
- Rolf Jacobsen (poet) (1907–1994), Norwegian author
- Rolf Løvland (born 1955), Norwegian composer
- Rolf Nevanlinna (1895-1980), Finnish mathematician
- Rolf Roosalu (Rolf Junior), Estonian singer
- Rolf Rämgård (born 1934), Swedish politician and Olympic medalist in cross country skiing
- Rolf Sartorius (born 2002), American singer and internet meme
- Rolf Schläfli (born 1971), Swiss decathlete
- Rolf Singer (1906-1994), German mycologist
- Rolf Skoglund (born 1940), Swedish actor
- Rolf Sørensen (born 1965), Danish professional road bicycle racer
- Rolf Wideröe (1902–1996), Norwegian particle physicist
- Rolv Wesenlund, Norwegian actor
- Rolf M. Zinkernagel (born 1944), Swiss Professor of Experimental Immunology, 1996 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
- Ernst Rolf (1891-1932), Swedish actor and singer.
- Tom Rolf (1931-2014), Swedish-born American film editor, son of Ernst Rolf.
- Ida P. Rolf (1896-1979), American biochemist and founder of Rolfing, a holistic health discipline
- Rolf, a cranky cartoon tiger in the Animal Crossing game series
- Rowlf, an easy-going Muppet dog who plays the piano
- Rolf, from the cartoon Ed, Edd n Eddy
- Rolf, Tragic hero of Phantasy Star II
- Rolf, a character in the Fire Emblem series
- ROLF, a list of acronyms
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