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Gender: M Meaning of Bernard: "strong, brave as a bear" Origin of Bernard: German

Popularity: this week.

Bernard is obviously a saint's name, but how did it get to the big, benevolent dog? The eleventh century monk, patron saint of mountain climbers, who lived in the Alps, was famed for setting up safe houses for pilgrims on their way to Rome over the treacherous St. Bernard Pass, and the canine breed, also used to rescue people in treacherous conditions, was named for him.

Over the years, though, the name has taken on a highly intellectual image, losing most of that old Alpine energy. There were lots of little Bernies in the early decades of the twentieth century, though--Bernard reached as high as Number 45 in 1921.

And the name does have some cultural cred, via playwright (George) Bernard Shaw, seminal art historian Bernard Berenson and novelist Bernard Malamud.

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Famous People Named Bernard

Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, French abbot
Bernard Herrmann, American film composer
Bernard-Germain-Étienne de La Ville-sur-Illon de Lacépède, French naturalist
(George) Bernard Shaw, Irish playwright
Bernard Charles "Bernie" Ecclestone, British business magnate
Bernard Cribbins, English actor
Bernard Fox, Welsh actor
Bernard Freeman aka Bun B, American rapper
Bernard Montgomery, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein, British field marshal
Bernard Freyberg, 7th Governor-General of New Zealand
Bernard Tomic, Australian tennis player
Bernard Cornwell, English novelist
Bernard Pyne Grenfell, English Egyptologist
Bernard Hill, American actor
Bernard Pierce, American football player
Bernard Pollard, American football player
Bernard Scott, American football player
Bernard Madoff, American Ponzi schemer

Pop Culture References for the Name Bernard

Bernard, a mouse in Disney's "The Rescuers"
Bernard, main character in the children's TV series "Bernard's Watch"
Bernard, the head elf in "The Santa Clause" movies
Bernard Black, character from British TV series "Black Books"
Bernard Bligh, character in "Small Island"
Bernard "Barney" Fife, character on "The Andy Griffith Show"
Bernard "Beans" Aranguren, from TV series "Even Stevens"
Saint Bernard, breed of large dog

Barnard, Barney, Barnhard, Barnie, Barny, Bear, Bearard, Bern, Bernarr, Bernie, Bernis, Burnard

Bernard's International Variations

Benat (Basque) Bernat (Catalan) Berno, Bernek (Czech) Bernot, Bernardin, Bernon (French) Bearnard (Gaelic) Bernhart, Bernhardt, Bernhard, Berend, Beno (German) Vernados (Greek) Bernadino (Italian) Bernardyn, Benek (Polish) Berngards (Russian) Bernt (Scandinavian) Bernardino, Bernal, Bernardel, Nardo, Bernardo, Bernardito (Spanish)