Hugh (given name)

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For other uses, see Hugh.

Hugh (/ˈhjuː/) is the English-language variant of the masculine given name Hugues, itself the Old French variant of Hugo, a short form of Continental Germanic given names beginning in the element hug- "mind, spirit" (Old English hyġe).[1]

The Germanic name is on record beginning in the 8th century, in variants Chugo, Hugo, Huc, Ucho, Ugu, Uogo, Ogo, Ougo, etc.[2] The name's popularity in the Middle Ages ultimately derives from its use by Frankish nobility, beginning with Duke of the Franks and Count of Paris Hugh the Great (898–956) . The Old French form was adopted into English from the Norman period (e.g. Hugh of Montgomery, 2nd Earl of Shrewsbury d. 1098; Hugh d'Avranches, 1st Earl of Chester, d. 1101).

The spelling Hugh in English is from the Picard variant spelling Hughes, where the orthography -gh- takes the role of -gu- in standard French, i.e. to express the phoneme /g/ as opposed to the affricate /ʒ/ taken by the grapheme g before front vowels. The modern English pronunciation /hju:/ is influenced by the Norman variant form Hue (/hy:/, /y:/), now only a surname, mainly from Normandy.[3]

The Old High German name Hugo was adopted as third declension nominative into Middle Latin (Hugo, Hugonis); in English, however, historical figures of the continental Middle Ages are conventionally given the name in its modern English spelling, as in Hugh Capet (941–996), Hugh Magnus of France (1007–1025), Hugh of Cluny (1024–1109), Hugh of Châteauneuf (1053–1132), etc.

Modern variants of the name include German Hugo, Dutch Huig, Frisian Hauke, Welsh Huw, Italian Ugo.

In the tradition of anglicisation of Gaelic names by using similar-sounding, but etymologically unrelated replacements, Hugh also serves as a replacement for Aodh and Ùisdean[4] (see Hughes (surname), Hughes (given name)).



  1. ^ Hanks, Patrick; Hodges, Flavia (2006). Hardcastle, Kate, ed. Oxford Dictionary of Names (2nd ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 126. ISBN 978-0-19-861060-1. 
  2. ^ E. Förstemann, Altdeutsches Namenbuch (1856), 750.
  3. ^ Site of "Géopatronym" : repartition of the births with the surname "Hue" until 1915 in the 5 Norman "départements" Seine-Maritime (76), Calvados (14), Manche (50), Eure (27) and Orne (61)
  4. ^ Hanks, Patrick; Hodges, Flavia (2003), A Dictionary of First Names (epub), Oxford University Press, ISBN 0198606052 

See also[edit]