English from German
"serious, resolute"

Ernest Origin and Meaning

The name Ernest is a boy's name of English origin meaning "serious, resolute".

Ernest is one of those sober, so-far-out-they're-beginning-to-be-reconsidered Great Uncle names. Ernest recently received a big style boost when Britain's Princess Eugenie chose it for her second son.

Ernest was a Top 40 name from 1880 to 1926, and despite trending downward from there, hung onto the Top 1000 until 2019. But we may see the rise of Ernest again before long.

Ernest is probably the only name a whole play was based on—Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest—in which one character says, "There is something in that name that seems to inspire absolute confidence. I pity any poor woman whose husband is not called Ernest."

The most famous bearer of the name is novelist Ernest Hemingway—unless you want to count Bert's friend Ernie.

Changing the spelling to Earnest makes it a male virtue name.

# 978 in the US

Ernest Rank in US Top 1000

# 265 on Nameberry

Ernest Rank in Nameberry Top 1000

Ernest Popularity

20 Names Similar to Ernest

These 20 names were selected by our users that were looking for other names like Ernest.

Famous People Named Ernest

  • Saint ErnestGerman abbot of Zwiefalten
  • Ernest AugustusKing of Hanover; son of George III of the U.K.
  • Ernest Miller HemingwayAmerican novelist (he said himself that he hated the name because of the connection to the play The Importance of Being Earnest)
  • Ernest I (born Ernst Anton Karl Ludwig Herzog)Duke of Saxe,Coburg and Gotha; father of Britain's Prince Albert
  • Ernest II (born Ernst August Karl Johann Leopold Alexander Eduard)Duke of Saxe,Coburg and Gotha; brother of Prince Albert
  • Ernest Borgnine (born Ermes Effron Borgnino)American actor
  • Ernest RutherfordNew Zealand,born physicist and Nobel laureate
  • Ernest Henry ShackletonEnglish Antarctic explorer
  • AmedeeErnest Chausson, French composer
  • Ernest "Ernie" BanksAmerican baseball player
  • Ernest Jennings Ford aka Tennessee Ernie FordAmerican country music singer
  • Ernest Edward "Ernie" KovacsAmerican actor/comedian
  • Ernest Dale TubbAmerican country music singer
  • Ernest Thomas Sinton WaltonIrish physicist and Nobel laureate
  • Ernest Rupert Atholl Deakinbrother of singer Louis Tomlinson

Ernest in Pop Culture

  • Ernest P Worrellmain character in the Ernest film series
  • Ernesta main character in comic strip "Frank and Ernest" by Bob Thaves
  • Ernest T. Basscharacter on TV's The Andy Griffith Show
  • Ernest Denouementcharacter in Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events
  • Ernest LeClerccharacter on British TV series 'Allo 'Allo!
  • Ernest B. Raykescharacter in Pixar's Cars
  • Ernest Baldwincharacter in the video game Silent Hill 2: Restless Dreams
  • Ernest Amanocharacter from "Ace Attorney"
  • MaxErnest, character in the "Secret" book series
  • Ernest Perriclofcharacter in Alexandra Adornetto's The Strangest Adventures series
  • Ernestname adopted by Jack Worthing (whose real name [spoiler] is actually Ernest) and Algernon Montcrieff in Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest

Ernest in Nameberry Blog Posts