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

The name Bernard is a boy's name of German origin meaning "strong, brave as a bear". Bernard and is often added to lists like Old Man Names and discussed in our forums with posts like "Baby a Day".

From the experts:

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.

Find other names based on Bernard using our baby name generator.

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 "Bernie" Sanders, U.S. Senator from Vermont
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
Bernard Hampton, entrepreneur
Bernard Ashley, founder of Laura Ashley design
Bernard Moon O’Sullivan (b. 2018), son of actress Bridget Regan

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, character on TV series "Even Stevens"
Bernard, main character in short story "Last Shot" by Justine Avery
Bernard "Bernie" Schotz, character on TV's "Bizaardvark"
Saint Bernard, breed of large dog
British pronunciation: Burner'd
Abbot Bernard, a character in Brian Jacques' "Mariel of Redwall"

Burnard, Barnard, Bear, Barnhard, Bearard, Bernarr, Bern, 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) Bearnard (Gaelic) Bernot, Bernardin, Bernon (French) Bernadino (Italian) Bernt (Scandinavian) Vernados (Greek) Beñat (Basque) Berngards (Russian)


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.