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George (given name)

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George (given name)

For the surname, see George (surname).
Pronunciation /ˈɔr/
Gender Male
Word/Name Greek: Γεώργιος (Georgios)
Meaning He who holds the Earth
Other names
Related names Georgios, Georgia, Georgina, Georgette, Georgetta, Geoffrey, Gregory, Greg, Ory, Grigori, Jorge, Jordan, Gordon, Gordy, Jay, Joe

George is a widespread masculine given name, derived from Greek Γεώργιος (Geōrgios) (Latin Georgius). Its popularity is due to the widespread veneration of the Christian military saint Saint George (George of Lydda c. 275/281–303).

The name derives in origin from the name of Zeus Georgos, worshipped as a god of crops in Ancient Athens. The Greek word γεωργός (geōrgos) means "husbandman, farmer, tiller" (lit. "earth-worker").[1]


The noun γεωργός geōrgos "husbandman, farmer" and the verb γεωργέω geōrgeō "to be a farmer; to plow, till, cultivate" is found in the classical language (Plato, Aristophanes).[2] The word geōrgos "husbandman, farmer" 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, Palestine 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. [6] 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

In the Middle Ages, Catalan and Occitan knights of the Romanian times used the war cry "Sant Jordi! Firam! Firam!". Similarly, the English knights used to go into battle with the cry "by George", which were entrusted to St. George and sought his support as patron saint of the knights.

Religious leaders


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

Modern use

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.[7] It was the seventh popular name in 1925, whereas it was not included in the top ten boys' name list of 1972.[7]

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

Regional variant forms

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.

  • Modern Greek: Γεώργιος (Georgios), Γιώργος (Giorgos), Γεωργία (Georgia)
  • Albanian: Gjergj, Jorgo, Gjorgj
  • Armenian: Գեվ (Gev), Գեվոր (Gevor), Գեվորգ (Gevorg), Գեւորգ (Kevork)
  • Amharic: ጊዮርጊስ (Giorgis)
  • Arabic: جرج (Jurj), جرجس (Jurjus), جورج (George), خضر (Khodor)
  • Basque: Gorka
  • Hungarian: György
  • Georgian: გიორგი (Giorgi), გიო/გია (Gio/Gia - both masculine), გოგი/გოგა (Gogi/Goga - both masculine)
  • Malayalam: ഗീവര്‍ഗീസ് (Geevarghese), Varghese, Varkey
  • Maltese: Ġorġ, Ġorġa
  • Persian: گئورگ (Georg)
  • Tigrinya: Gergish

See also




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