From the Late Greek name Χριστοφορος (Christophoros) meaning “bearing CHRIST”, derived from Χριστος (Christos) combined with φερω (phero) “to bear, to carry”. Early Christians used it as a metaphorical name, expressing that they carried Christ in their hearts. In the Middle Ages, literal interpretations of the name’s etymology led to legends about a Saint Christopher who carried the young Jesus across a river. He has come to be regarded as the patron saint of travellers.
As an English given name, Christopher has been in general use since the 15th century. In Denmark it was borne by three kings (their names are usually spelled Christoffer), including the 15th-century Christopher of Bavaria who also ruled Norway and Sweden. Other famous bearers include Italian explorer Christopher Columbus (1451-1506), English playwright Christopher Marlowe (1564-1593), English architect Christopher Wren (1632-1723) and the fictional character Christopher Robin from A. A. Milne’s ‘Winnie-the-Pooh’ books.
USAGE: English, French, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, German, Dutch, Czech, Polish, Russian, Slovene, Croatian, Romanian, Ancient Germanic
PRONOUNCED: RAHB-ərt, RAWB-ət, RAW-BER, RO-bert, RO-bərt, RAW-bert, RO-byirt
From the Germanic name Hrodebert meaning “bright fame”, derived from the Germanic elements hrod “fame” and beraht “bright”. The Normans introduced this name to Britain, where it replaced the Old English cognate Hreodbeorht. It has been a very common English name since that time.
The name has been borne by two early kings of France, two Dukes of Normandy, and three kings of Scotland, including Robert the Bruce who restored the independence of Scotland from England in the 14th century. The author Robert Browning (1812-1889) and poets Robert Burns (1759-1796) and Robert Frost (1874-1963) are famous literary bearers of this name. Other bearers include Robert E. Lee (1807-1870), the commander of the Confederate army during the American Civil War, and American actors Robert Redford (1936-), Robert De Niro (1943-) and Robert Downey Jr. (1965-).
USAGE: Welsh, English
Is of Welsh origin. In its anglicised form the name means “son of Evan”. Regarding its Welsh roots, it is a derivative of the name Ifan, a cognate of John. In the Welsh language, the f produces the v sound; Ifan (Ivan) became Evan.
The similarity to the Slavic name Ivan is not accidental, as the latter is a cognate of John too.
In the Welsh language the patronymic “ab Evan” resulted in the anglicized surname “Bevan”, which is also common in Wales.