Bernhard – Name Meaning

The name Bernhard is of German origin and is derived from the Old High German words “bern” meaning “bear” and “hard” meaning “brave, strong, or hardy.” The name Bernhard is a masculine given name that has been popular in Germany since the Middle Ages.

History of the Name

The earliest known use of the name Bernhard dates back to the 8th century when it was used as a personal name by Charlemagne, the first Holy Roman Emperor. It was also used by several other medieval rulers including Otto I, Duke of Saxony, and Henry I, Duke of Bavaria. In modern times, the name has become popular in many countries around the world.


In recent years, Bernhard has become increasingly popular in Germany and other European countries. According to data from 2018, it was the 24th most popular male name in Germany. It is also popular in Austria, Switzerland, and Scandinavia. In the United States, it is not as common but still ranks among the top 1000 names for boys.

Famous People Named Bernhard

There are many famous people who have borne the name Bernhard throughout history. These include:

  • Bernhard of Saxe-Weimar (1554–1626), a German prince and general
  • Bernhard von Bülow (1849–1929), a German statesman and diplomat
  • Bernhard Riemann (1826–1866), a German mathematician
  • Bernhard Langer (born 1957), a German professional golfer

Variations of the Name

The name Bernhard can be spelled in various ways depending on language and culture. Some common variations include: Bernard, Barnard, Berndt, Bernt, Burnard, Burnet, and Bernie.

By Ava Isabella Hartley

Ava Isabella Hartley is a renowned expert in the field of onomastics, the study of names and their meanings, with a particular focus on baby names. She holds a Master's degree in Linguistics from the University of Cambridge and has over 15 years of experience in the study of etymology, name trends, and cultural naming practices.

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