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Wolfgang is a German male given name traditionally popular in Germany and Austria. The name is a combination of the Old High German word wolf, meaning "wolf" and gang, meaning "path, journey". Besides the regular "wolf", the first element also occurs in Old High German as the combining form "-olf". "Wolf" (in Old High German) or "wulf" (in most other Germanic languages) is a popular element of the common dithematic Germanic names. The word is present in hundreds of German names. Some Germanic names with this element include Adolf, Aethelwulf, Beowulf, Cynewulf, Rudolf, Wulfstan, Ulfilas, and Wulf. "Gang" is found in such names as Gangperht, Gangulf, Bertegang, Druhtgang, Hildigang, Hrodegang, and Wiligang.
The earliest reference of the name being used was in the 8th century. The name was also attested as "Vulfgang" in the Reichenauer Verbrüderungsbuch in the 9th century, The earliest recorded famous bearer of the name was a tenth-century Saint Wolfgang of Regensburg. Due to the lack of conflict with the pagan reference in the name with Catholicism, it is likely a much more ancient name whose meaning had already been lost by the tenth-century. Grimm (Teutonic Mythology p. 1093) interpreted the name as that of a hero in front of whom walks the "wolf of victory". A Latin gloss by Arnold of St. Emmeram interprets the name as Lupambulus.