"strong, brave as a bear"

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.
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Bernard Rank in US Top 1000

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20 Names Similar to Bernard

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Famous People Named Bernard

  • Saint Bernard of ClairvauxFrench abbot
  • Bernard HerrmannAmerican film composer
  • BernardGermain,Étienne de La Ville,sur,Illon de Lacépède, French naturalist
  • (George) Bernard ShawIrish playwright
  • Bernard Charles "Bernie" EcclestoneBritish business magnate
  • Bernard "Bernie" SandersU.S. Senator from Vermont
  • Bernard CribbinsEnglish actor
  • Bernard FoxWelsh actor
  • Bernard Freeman aka Bun BAmerican rapper
  • Bernard Montgomery1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein, British field marshal
  • Bernard Freyberg7th Governor,General of New Zealand
  • Bernard TomicAustralian tennis player
  • Bernard CornwellEnglish novelist
  • Bernard Pyne GrenfellEnglish Egyptologist
  • Bernard HillAmerican actor
  • Bernard PierceAmerican football player
  • Bernard PollardAmerican football player
  • Bernard ScottAmerican football player
  • Bernard MadoffAmerican Ponzi schemer
  • Bernard Hamptonentrepreneur
  • Bernard Ashleyfounder of Laura Ashley design
  • Bernard Moon O’Sullivan (b. 2018)son of actress Bridget Regan
  • Bernard 'Barney' SumnerEnglish musician (New Order)
  • Bernard 'Berni' FlintEnglish singer
  • Bernard 'Bernie' CalvertEnglish bass player (The Hollies)

Bernard in Pop Culture

  • Bernarda mouse in Disney's "The Rescuers"
  • Bernardmain character in the children's TV series "Bernard's Watch"
  • Bernardthe head elf in "The Santa Clause" movies
  • Bernard Blackcharacter from British TV series "Black Books"
  • Bernard Blighcharacter in "Small Island"
  • Bernard "Barney" Fifecharacter on "The Andy Griffith Show"
  • Bernard "Beans" Arangurencharacter on TV series "Even Stevens"
  • Bernardmain character in short story "Last Shot" by Justine Avery
  • Bernard "Bernie" Schotzcharacter on TV's "Bizaardvark"
  • Saint Bernardbreed of large dog
  • British pronunciation: Burner'd
  • Abbot Bernarda character in Brian Jacques' "Mariel of Redwall"

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