Gender: Female Meaning of Gretchen: "pearl" Origin of Gretchen: German, diminutive of Margarethe

Gretchen Origin and Meaning

The name Gretchen is a girl's name of German origin meaning "pearl".

Like Greta, Gretchen is a German Margaret diminutive that has become an American quasi-classic, though not much used today, having dropped off the list in 2009. She was at her high point in the 1970s, making it into the top 200.

Gretchen appears in Goethe's Faust, and has been seen more recently on Heroes and Breaking Bad. The name is currently enjoying a dash of modern glamour via actress Gretchen Mol.

16 names similar to Gretchen

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- this week

Famous People Named Gretchen

Pop Culture References for the name Gretchen

Greta, Gretchin, Gretchyn


pixiegretch Says:


This is my name and I love it so much! I Always get compliments on it and I love how it’s unique without being too unusual! also, my family and friends call me Gretch or gretchie, so there aren’t any really bad nicknames. Definitely recommend!

danirose01 Says:


This is a family name in DH's family, his mom and his grandmother are both Gretchens, and they are really German. We will not be using it if we have a girl. However, I used to really hate this name, and it has grown a little bit on me since I've met people who wear it well.

MonikerWanderer Says:


I know a Gretchen. She rocks the name.

pixiegretch Says:


I think this name is so pretty and I see it climbing up in the next few years.

marnie r Says:


I feel like I shouldn't like this name but I do. It has the same appeal that Mädchen has for me (also German and ends with chen).

melhedges Says:


I love Gertrude. That was on our list of names, too. ;-)

melhedges Says:


Thanks for the feedback. We did end up naming our daughter Gretchen. We love it, and everyone seems to love it. Our boy name that we had picked out, Floyd, was much more divisive among our family. Everyone was quite happy that it was Gretchen.

melhedges Says:


I have to disagree. I named my daughter Gretchen, she was born in early 2015, and I get so many compliments on her name. So many people like that it's a old, classic name that you don't hear very often.

headintheclouds Says:


I always think of Mean Girls in relation to this name. Gretchen is one of those names that would be incredibly difficult to pull off-- in my mind it would only work if you were supermodel-gorgeous and very confident and outgoing. The "retch" sound definitely doesn't endear me to the name either. For similar clunky Old-World sounding names, I much prefer Greta and Gretel to Gretchen; IMO they still have that quaint and charming so-out-it's-in quality while Gretchen doesn't.

EW314 Says:


I love this, I think it's so cute. I would never dare use it though because I'm literally the only person I know who likes this name. Everyone else doesn't just dislike it, they literally despise it. They say it's really harsh and ugly, but I just don't see it. It's sweet and delicate, and a refreshing change from the Lillie, Mollie, Maisie school of baby naming. I'd be thrilled to meet a little Gretchen!

Haids1987 Says:


That's my car's name.

Haids1987 Says:


And none for Gretchen Wieners.

Melissa Says:


I named my daughter Gretchen earlier this year. Love the name and I'm always getting compliments. I also like the fact that's it not overused, yet classic. It's still unique but doesn't sound obnoxiously unique (like Kim K's baby's name).

Impwood Says:


I prefer Gretel.

RoddyThlayli Says:


Love Gretchen, but the lack of obvious nicknames bothers. Chen or Ren might work.

uesnyc Says:


Sounds like "wretched" + "gremlin" mashed up into an unfortunate sounding name. Gretchen the wretched gremlin!

Zelliew Says:


I like this name. I imagine a cute dark haired girl with soft, slightly chubby cheeks.



I love this name. I just wish my husband agreed.

MelancholyMusic Says:


Reminds me of Wretched

sirens_sam Says:


Totally agree

sirens_sam Says:


This name and Agatha are my favorite names when it comes to the classics. I don't understand how people dont like it.

AKMoosey Says:


I have lived with this name for 36 years. I am so glad that I have a unique and beautiful name and you won't be doing your daughter a diservice by using it. I didn't always appreciate it as a kid, but I have since I was a young teen. Far better than being one of the many "Jennifers" or "Stephanies". I am glad not everyone can apprecitate the merits of Gretchen, for it would be a diservice to the name by being popular!

Zoey_Artemisia Says:


This name is one of the ugliest names imo, it's worse than Gertrude

ThistleThorn Says:


I don't think her dad, the inventor of TOASTER STRUDEL, would be too happy to hear about the declination of his daughter's name.

Guest Says:


I dislike the sound of this name and it's my name... :(

melhedges Says:


I love this name! Classic, German, and you simply can't go wrong.

BeaSobreira Says:


Please don't do this to your child! this name has a horrifying sound, despite the delicate meaning!

loverofnames86 Says:


I think this name is ready for a comeback.

lesliemarion Says:


Worse than Heidi to me because of the retchin' sound.