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

Bernard Origin and Meaning

The name Bernard is a boy's name of German origin meaning "strong, brave as a bear".

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; 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. And let's not forget that 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Bernie Sanders's first name is Bernard as well.

16 names similar to Bernard

These 16 names were selected by our users that were looking for other names like Bernard. If you didn't find an alternative name that you like better than Bernard, try our name generator. It allows you to go beyond the similarities of a name, which can provide a lot of inspiration!

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Famous People Named Bernard

Pop Culture References for the name Bernard

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

Bernard's International Variations

Bernhart, Bernhardt, Bernhard, Berend, Beno (German) Bernardino, Bernal, Bernardel, Nardo, Bernardo, Bernardito (Spanish) Berno, Bernek (Czech) Bernardyn, Benek (Polish) Bernat (Catalan)




Why the heck didn’t they mention Bernard Zygier from one of the most important works in Polish literature “Syzyfowe Prace” ?

CailinRua Says:


Had I ever wanted to be a mother, 'Bernard' would have been my choice for a son. Love it, it's strong and dependable.

lynnkw528 Says:


I have a little nephew named Bernard Leroy and we all call him Bernie. Its actually pretty cute.

paulapuddephatt Says:


I love Bernard and the nickname Bernie. Bernie is also lovely for girls, as a nickname for Bernadette, Bernice, etc.

PineWarrior Says:


I think a cute nickname that could go with this name (although maybe a stretch) could be 'Bear'.

Theodora_Phoenix Says:


I love Bernard and Barney, but I never thought of Barney as a nickname for Bernard. Cool!

princessmadison Says:


I was visiting my preschool class today and i met a little boy and this is his name. I love how his name is Bernard and they call him Barney for short! I think it's the cutest thing!

headintheclouds Says:


One of my cousins is named Bernard. He's just as his name implies- he's tall, with a steady, stoic sort of calming presence, and he's just strong, solid, and a loyal, dependable person. His nickname is Bear, which I think is really cute.