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Gender: F Meaning of Bertha: "bright, glorious" Origin of Bertha: German

Popularity: this week.

Ever since the enormous German cannon was dubbed by Allied soldiers "Big Bertha" in World War I, this name hasn't worked for a sweet little baby girl. But this was not always so. Hard as it might be to imagine now, Bertha was a Top 100 name until the 1930s, and in the 1880s was the seventh most popular name in the land--the equal of Joseph.

Bertha, aka Berchta, was a Teurtonic goddess borrowed from Norse mythology, regarded in her earliest incarnations as a beautiful and benevolent spirit. Bertha is an ancient Germanic name attached to the 6th century Saint Bertha of Kent, who was instrumental in the spread of Christianity, and it was the name of both the mother and daughter of Charlemagne.

In literature, Bertha Mason is the first wife of Rochester in Jane Eyre, and a character in Edith Wharton's The House of Mirth. The French version Berthe is represented by the French Impressionist painter Berthe Morisot. All in all, though, modern parents might do better to consider the Polish version, Berta.

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Famous People Named Bertha

Bertha von Suttner, Austrian writer and first woman Nobel Peace Prize winner
Bertha Wilson, first woman Canadian Supreme Court Justice
Bertha of Savoy, Queen of Germany and Holy Roman Empress
Bertha of Holland, queen consort of the Franks
Saint Bertha of Kent, Anglo-Saxon queen
Bertha Palmer, American businesswoman and philanthropist
Bertha Benz, wife of German automaker Karl Benz and first person to drive a car long distance
Bertha Krupp von Bohlen und Albach, German businesswoman

Pop Culture References for the Name Bertha

Bertha Mason, Edward Rochester's wife in "Jane Eyre"
Bertha Dorset, character in Edith Wharton's "The House of Mirth"
Bertha Jorkins, character in the Harry Potter series

Bertha's International Variations

Berthe, Bertille (French) Bertina, Berrty, Berrta, Berti, Berrti, Bertilde, Bettina (German) Berte (Norwegian) Berta (Polish) Birdie, Bertie, Berit, Bird, Birta (Swedish)