Languages › German A List of Common German Names for Boys and Girls A look at Germany's strict baby-naming laws Share Flipboard Email Print Emma Kim / Getty Images German History & Culture Pronunciation & Conversation Vocabulary Grammar By Hyde Flippo German Expert Hyde Flippo taught the German language for 28 years at high school and college levels and published several books on the German language and culture. our editorial process Hyde Flippo Updated February 28, 2020 You can't name your baby anything you want if you live in Germany. You can't pick just any name or make one up that you think sounds nice. Rules for First Names in Germany In Germany, there are certain restrictions when it comes to choosing a name for a child. The justification: Names should protect the well-being of the child, and some names could possibly defame him or her or evoke potential future violence against the person. The first name: needs to be recognizable as a name.should not be associated with evil, like "Satan" or "Judas."should not be insensitive to religious feelings, like "Christus" (earlier "Jesus" was forbidden).can't be a brand name or name of a place.has to be approved to clearly identify the sex of the child. A child can have several first names. These are often inspired by godparents or other relatives. As is the case almost anywhere, German children's names can be subject to tradition, trends, and the names of popular sports heroes and other cultural icons. Still, German names must be officially approved by the local office of vital statistics (Standesamt). Common German Boy Names Some German boys' names are identical or similar to English names for boys (Benjamin, David, Dennis, Daniel). An approximate pronunciation guide for some names is shown in brackets. German Boys' First Names - VornamenSymbols used: Gr. (Greek), Lat. (Latin), OHG (Old High German), Sp. (Spanish). Abbo, Abo Short form of names with "Adal-" (Adelbert) AmalbertThe "Amal-" prefix may refer to the Amaler/Amelungen, the name of the eastern Gothic (Ostgotisch) royal house. OHG "beraht" means "shining." AchimShort form of "Joachim" (of Hebrew origin, "whom God exalts"); Joachim and Anne were said to be the parents of the Virgin Mary. Name day: Aug. 16 Alberich, Elberich From OHG for "ruler of natural spirits" AmalfriedSee "Amal-" above. OHG "fried" means "peace." Ambros, AmbrosiusFrom Gr. ambr—sios (divine, immortal) Albrun From OHG for "advised by natural spirits" Andreas From Gr. andreios (brave, masculine) Adolf, Adolphfrom Adalwolf/Adalwulf Alex, AlexanderFrom Gr. for "protector" Alfredfrom English Adrian (Hadrian) from Lat. (H)adrianus Agilbert, AgiloFrom OHG for "shining blade/sword" Alois, Aloisus, Aloys, Aloysus From Italian; popular in Catholic regions. Possibly originally Germanic; "very wise." Anselm, AnshelmFrom OHG for "helmet of God." Name day: April 21 Adal-/Adel-: Names beginning with this prefix derive from the OHG adal, meaning noble, aristocratic (modern Ger. edel). Representative are: Adalbald (Adalbold), Adalbert (Adelbert, Albert), Adalbrand (Adelbrand), Adalbrecht (Albrecht), Adalfried, Adalger, Adelgund(e), Adalhard, Adelheid (Engl., Adelaide), Adalhelm, Adelhild(e), Adelar, Adelinde, Adalmann, Adalmar (Adelmar, Aldemar), Adalrich, Adalwin, Adalwolf. Amadeus, AmadeoLat. form of Ger. Gottlieb (God and love) Axelfrom Swedish Archibaldfrom OHG Erkenbald Armin m.from Lat. Arminius (Hermann), who defeated the Romans in Germania in 9 A.D. Artur, Arthurfrom Engl. Arthur August(in), Augustafrom Lat. Augustus Arnold: An old German name from OHG arn (eagle) and waltan (to rule) means "he who rules like an eagle." Popular during the Middle Ages, the name later fell out of favor but returned in the 1800s. Famous Arnolds include German author Arnold Zweig, Austrian composer Arnold Schönberg and Austrian-American film actor/director and California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Arnd, Arndt, Arno are derived from Arnold. Berthold, Bertold, Bertoltfrom OHG Berhtwald: beraht(splendid) and waltan (rule) Balder, Baldur m.From Baldr, Germanic god of light and fertility Berti m.fam. form of Berthold Balduin m.from OHG bald (bold) and wini(friend). Related to Engl. Baldwin, Fren. Badouin BalthasarAlong with Kaspar and Melchior, one the Three Wise Men (Heilige Drei Könige) Björn m.from Norwegian, Swedish (bear) Bodo, Boto, Botho from OHG boto (messenger) Borisfrom Slavic, Russian Brunoold German name meaning "brown (bear)" Benno, Bernd short form of Bernhard Burk, Burkhardfrom OHG burg (castle) and harti (hard) Carl, KarlThe c spelling of this form of Charles has been popular in German. Chlodwig older form of Ludwig Dieter, Diether diot (people) and (army); also a short form of Dietrich Christoph, Cristof Related to Christian from Gr./Lat. The martyr Christophorus ("Christ-bearer") died in the third century. Clemens, Klemens from the Lat. clemens (mild, merciful); related to Engl. clemency Conrad, KonradConnie, Conny (fam.) - Konrad is an old Germanic name meaning "bold counselor/advisor" (OHG kuoni and rat) Dagmar from Denmark around 1900 Dagobert Celtic dago(good) + OHG beraht (gleaming)Disney's Uncle Scrooge is named "Dagobert" in German. Dietrich from OHG diot (people) and rik (ruler) Detlef, DetlevLow German form of Dietlieb (son of the people) Dolffrom names ending in -dolf/dolph (Adolph, Rudolph) Eckart, Eckehard, Eckehart, Eckhartfrom OHG ecka (tip, sword blade) and harti (hard) Eduardfrom French and English Emil m.from French and Latin, Aemilius (eager, competitive) Emmerich, Emerichold German name related to Heinrich (Henry) Engelbert, Engelbrechtrelated to Angel/Engel (as in Anglo-Saxon) and OHG for "splendid" Erhard, Ehrhard, Erhartfrom OHG era (honor) and harti (hard) Erkenbald, Erkenbert, ErkenfriedVariations of an old Germanic name that is rare today. OHG "erken" means "noble, genuine, true." Ernest, Ernst (m.)From German "ernst" (serious, decisive) ErwinAn old Germanic name that evolved from Herwin ("friend of the army"). The female Erwine is rare today. Erich, Erik from Nordic for "all powerful" EwaldOld German name meaning "he who rules by law." Fabian, Fabien,Fabius From Lat. for "of the house of Fabier" Falco, Falko, FalkOld German name meaning "falcon." The Austrian pop star Falco used the name. FelixFrom Lat. for "happy" Ferdinand (m.)From Spanish Fernando/Hernando, but the origin is actually Germanic ("bold marksman"). The Habsburgs adopted the name in the 16th century. Florian, Florianus (m.)From Lat. Florus, "blooming" FrankAlthough the name means "of the Franks" (Germanic tribe), the name only became popular in Germany in the 19th century because of the English name. Fred, FreddyShort form of names like Alfred or Manfred, as well as a variation of Frederic, Frederick or Friedrich FriedrichOld Germanic name meaning "ruling in peace" Fritz (m.), Fritzi (f.)An old nickname for Friedrich/Friederike; this was such a common name that in WWI the British and French used it as a term for any German soldier. Gabriel Biblical name meaning "man of God" Gandolf, Gandulf Old German name meaning "magic wolf" GebhardOld German name: "gift" and "hard" Georg (m.)From Greek for "farmer" - English: George Gerald, Gerold, Gerwald Old Germanic masc. name that is rare today. OHG "ger" = "spear" and "walt" means rule, or "rules by spear." Ital. "Giraldo" Gerbert m.Old Germanic name meaning "glittering spear" Gerhard/Gerhart An old Germanic name dating back to the Middle Ages meaning "hard spear." Gerke /Gerko,Gerrit/ Gerit Low German and Frisian name used as a nickname for "Gerhard" and other names with "Ger-." Gerolf Old German name: "spear" and "wolf" GerwigOld Germanic name meaning "spear fighter" Gisbert, GiselbertOld Germanic name; the "gisel" meaning is uncertain, the "bert" part means "shining" GodehardAn old Low German variation of "Gotthard" GerwinOld German name: "spear" and "friend" Golo Old Germanic name, a short form of names with "Gode-" or "Gott-" Gorch Low German form of "Georg" Example: Gorch Fock (German writer), real name: Hans Kinau (1880-1916) Godehard m.An old Low German variation of "Gotthard" Gorch Low German form of "Georg" Example: Gorch Fock (German writer); real name was Hans Kinau (1880-1916) Gottbert Old German name: "God" and "shining" GottfriedOld German name: "God" and "peace"; related to Engl. "Godfrey" and "Geoffrey" Gotthard, Gotthold, Gottlieb, Gottschalk, Gottwald, Gottwin. Old German male names with "God" and adjective. GötzOld German name, short for "Gott" names, especially "Gottfried." Examples: Goethe's Götz von Berlichingen and the German actor Götz George. Gott-names - In the era of Pietism (17th/18th century) it was popular to create German male names with Gott (God) plus a pious adjective. Gotthard ("God" and "hard"), Gotthold (God and "fair/sweet"), Gottlieb (God and "love"), Gottschalk ("God's servant"), Gottwald (God and "rule"), Gottwin (God and "friend"). HansdieterCombination of Hans and Dieter HaroldLow German name derived from OHG Herwald: "army" (heri) and "rule" (waltan). Variations of Harold are found in many other languages: Araldo, Geraldo, Harald, Hérault, etc. HartmannOld German name ("hard" and "man") popular in the Middle Ages. Rarely used today; more common as a surname. Hartmut m.Old German name ("hard" and "sense, mind") HeikoFriesian nickname for Heinrich ("strong ruler" - "Henry" in English). More under Heinrich below. HassoOld German name derived from "Hesse" (Hessian). Once used only by nobility, the name is today a popular German name for dogs. Hein North/Low German nickname for Heinrich. The old German phrase "Freund Hein" means death. Harald Borrowed (since early 1900s) Nordic form of Harold Hauke Friesian nickname for Hugo and names with the Hug- prefix. WalbertVariation of Waldebert(below) WalramOld German masc. name: "battleground" + "raven" Weikhard Variation of Wichard Walburg, Walburga, Walpurga, WalpurgisAn old German name meaning "ruling castle/fortress." It is a rare name today but goes back to St. Walpurga in the eighth century, an Anglo-Saxon missionary and abbess in Germany. Walter, WaltherOld Germanic name meaning "army commander." In use from the Middle Ages on, the name became popular through the "Walter saga" (Waltharilied) and the famous German poet Walther von der Vogelweide. Famous Germans with the name: Walter Gropius (architect), Walter Neusel (boxer), and Walter Hettich (movie actor). Welf Old German name meaning "young dog;" a nickname used by the royal house of the Welfs (Welfen). Related to Welfhard,Old German name meaning "strong pup;" not used today WaldebertOld German name meaning roughly "shining ruler." Female form: Waldeberta. WendelbertOld German name: "Vandal" and "shining"WendelburgOld German name: "Vandal" and "castle." Short form: Wendel Waldemar, WoldemarAn old Germanic name: "rule" and "great." Several Danish kings bore the name: Waldemar I and IV. Waldemar Bonsels (1880-1952) was a German writer (Biene Maja). WendelinShort or familiar form of names with Wendel-; once a popular German name because of St. Wendelin (seventh cent.), patron of herders. WaldoShort form of Waldemar and other Wald- names WendelmarOld German name: "Vandal" and "famous" WastlNickname for Sebastian (in Bavaria, Austria) WenzelGerman nickname derived from the Slavic Wenzeslaus (Václav/Venceslav) WalfriedOld German name: "rule" and "peace" Werner, WernherOld German name that evolved from the OHG names Warinheri or Werinher. The first element of the name (weri) may refer to a Germanic tribe; the second part (heri) means "army." Wern(h)er has been a popular name since the Middle Ages. Wedekind Variation of Widukind WernfriedOld German name: "Vandal" and "peace" Common German Girl Names Naming things (Namensgebung), as well as people, is a popular German pastime. While the rest of the world may name hurricanes or typhoons, the German Weather Service (Deutscher Wetterdienst) has gone so far as to name ordinary high (hoch) and low (tief) pressure zones. (This prompted a debate about whether masculine or feminine names should be applied to a high or a low. Since 2000, they have alternated in even and odd years.) Boys and girls in the German-speaking world born at the end of the 1990s bear first names that are very different from earlier generations or children born even a decade earlier. Popular German names of the past (Hans, Jürgen, Edeltraut, Ursula) have given way to more "international" names today (Tim, Lukas, Sara, Emily). Here are some common traditional and contemporary German girl names and their meanings. German Girls' First Names - Vornamen AmalfriedaOHG "fried" means "peace." Ada, AddaShort for names with "Adel-" (Adelheid, Adelgunde) Albertafrom Adalbert Amalie, AmaliaShort for names with "Amal-" AdalbertaNames beginning with Adal (adel) derive from the OHG adal, meaning noble, aristocratic (modern Ger. edel) Albrun, AlbrunaFrom OHG for "advised by natural spirits" AndreaFrom Gr. andreios (brave, masculine) Alexandra, AlessandraFrom Gr. for "protector" Angela, Angelikafrom Gr./Lat. for angel Adolfa, Adolfinefrom masculine Adolf Anitafrom Sp. for Anna/Johanna Adrianefrom Lat. (H)adrianus Anna/Anne/Antje: This popular name has two sources: Germanic and Hebraic. The latter (meaning "grace") predominated and is also found in many Germanic and borrowed variations: Anja (Russian), Anka (Polish), Anke/Antje (Niederdeutsch), Ännchen/Annerl (diminutive), Annette. It has also been popular in compound names: Annaheide, Annekathrin, Annelene, Annelies(e), Annelore, Annemarie and Annerose. Agathe, Agathafrom Gr. agathos (good) Antonia, AntoinetteAntonius was a Roman family name. Today Anthony is a popular name in many languages. Antoinette, made famous by the Austrian Marie Antoinette, is the French diminutive form of Antoine/Antonia. Astafrom Anastasia/AstridMade famous by Asta Nielsen. Beate, Beate, Beatrix, Beatricefrom Lat. beatus, happy. Popular German name in the 1960s and '70s. Brigitte, Brigitta, BirgittaCeltic name: "sublime one" CharlotteRelated to Charles/Karl. Made popular by Queen Sophie Charlotte, for whom Berlin's Charlottenburg Palace is named. Barbara: From the Greek (barbaros) and Latin (barbarus, -a, -um) words for foreign (later: rough, barbaric). The name was first made popular in Europe through the veneration of Barbara of Nicomedia, a legendary holy figure (see below) said to have been martyred in 306. Her legend, however, did not emerge until at least the seventh century. Her name became popular in German (Barbara, Bärbel). Christiane f.from Gr./Lat. Dora, Dorothea, Dore, Dorel, Dorlefrom Dorothea or Theodora, Gr. for God's gift" Elkefrom Frisian nickname for Adelheid Elisabeth, Elsbeth, ElseBiblical name meaning "God is perfection" in Hebrew Emmaold German name; short for names with Erm- or Irm- Edda f.short form of names with Ed- Erna, Erne Female form of Ernst, from German "ernst" (serious, decisive) Eva Biblical Hebrew name meaning "life." (Adam und Eva) Frieda, Frida, FriedelShort form of names with Fried- or -frieda in them (Elfriede, Friedericke, Friedrich) FaustaFrom Lat. for "favorable, joyful" - a rare name today. Fabia, Fabiola,Fabius From Lat. for "of the house of Fabier" Felicitas, Felizitas From Lat. for "happiness" - English: Felicity Frauke Low German/Frisian diminutive form of Frau ("little woman") Gabi, Gaby Short form of Gabriele (a fem. form of Gabriel) GabrieleBiblical masc. name meaning "man of God" FiekeLow German short form of Sophie Geli Short form of Angelika Geralde, GeraldineFem. form of "Gerald" Gerda A borrowing of an old Nordic/Icelandic feminine name (meaning "protector") made popular in Germany in part by Hans Christian Andersen's name for the "Snow Queen." Also used as a short form of "Gertrude." Gerlinde, Gerlind, Gerlindis f.Old Germanic name meaning "spear shield" (of wood). Gert/GertaShort form for masc. or fem. "Ger-" names Gertraud, Gertraude, Gertraut, Gertrud/Gertrude Old Germanic name meaning "strong spear." GerwineOld German name: "spear" and "friend" Gesa Low German/Frisian form of "Gertrud" Gisa A short form of "Gisela" and other "Gis-" names Gisbert m., Gisberta f.Old Germanic name related to "Giselbert" GiselaOld German name whose meaning is uncertain. Charlemagne's (Karl der Große) sister was named "Gisela." Giselbert m., GiselbertaOld Germanic name; the "gisel" meaning is uncertain, the "bert" part means "shining" Gitta/GitteShort form of "Brigitte/Brigitta" HedwigOld German name derived from OHG Hadwig ("war" and "battle"). The name gained popularity in the Middle Ages in honor of St. Hedwig, the patron saint of Silesia (Schlesien). HeikeShort form of Heinrike (fem. form of Heinrich). Heike was a popular German girl's name in the 1950s and '60s. This Friesian name is similar to Elke, Frauke and Silke - also fashionable names at the time. Hedda, Hede Borrowed (1800s) Nordic name, a nickname for Hedwig. Famous German: Author, poet Hedda Zinner (1905-1994). Walthild(e), Waldhild(e)Old German name: "rule" and "fight" Waldegund(e)Old German name: "rule" and "battle" Waltrada, WaltradeOld German name: "rule" and "advice;" not used today. Waltraud, Waltraut, WaltrudOld German name meaning roughly "strong ruler." Very popular girl's name in German-speaking countries until the 1970s or so; now rarely used. WendelgardOld German name: "Vandal" and "Gerda" (possibly) Waltrun(e)Old German name meaning "secret advice" WandaName borrowed from Polish. Also a figure in Gerhart Hauptmann's novel Wanda. Waldtraut, Waltraud, Waltraut, WaltrudOld German name meaning roughly "strong ruler." Popular girl's name in German-speaking countries until the 1970s or so; now rarely used. WalfriedOld German masc. name: "rule" and "peace" Weda, WedisFrisian (N. Ger.) name; meaning unknown Cite this Article Format mla apa chicago Your Citation Flippo, Hyde. "A List of Common German Names for Boys and Girls." ThoughtCo, Feb. 12, 2021, thoughtco.com/traditional-and-contemporary-german-names-4066183. Flippo, Hyde. (2021, February 12). A List of Common German Names for Boys and Girls. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/traditional-and-contemporary-german-names-4066183 Flippo, Hyde. "A List of Common German Names for Boys and Girls." 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