Henry, Harry, Harriet, Henrietta


Origin: English/Germanic
Meaning: home ruler

Henry, an age old classic male name, is an anglicized version of the Germanic Heimric, which is composed of the elements heim meaning “home” and ric meaning “ruler.” The name evolved into the modern German Heinrich, the Scandinavian Henrik, the Polish Henryk, the French Henri, the Spanish Enrique and the Italian Enzo.

Henry has a lot of staying power in virtually most European countries. Like many of the other classic English names, this name came to England not through any Anglo-Saxon Germanic connections but through the conquering French Normans. It is has been a very popular choice among British and German royalty alike. It has been borne by the infamous Henry VIII all the way to our very present, Prince Henry, (aka Prince Harry), of England.

Henry has given to the world its diminutive form of Harry, which in many respects, is seen as an independent name in its own right. In Medieval England, Harry was considered the vulgar or everyday form of the name, most of England’s King Henrys were known affectionately as Harry. At one time, the name Henry was so common in the English speaking world, that the phrase, “Every Tom, Dick and Harry,” arose.

Harry is the title character of J.K. Rowling’s wizardry series, Harry Potter and again most the world knows the charming prince by his nickname versus his full name, given it a new appeal to young parents. Once seen as a stodgy and stuffy old man name, it is now seen as a classy and chic choice. Harry has recently enjoyed a surge in popularity in both the United Kingdom and the United States. Currently, Harry sits at # 644 in the 2008 most popular male names of the United States, while Henry comes in at # 76, and seems to be rising. Meanwhile, in Great Britain, Harry came in at a whopping # 5, while Henry at # 34. In France’s top male names of 2006, Henri came in at # 330, while its Italian version of Enzo, seems to be the more preferred version in recent years, Enzo came in as the # 1 most popular male name of France!

Other popular nicknames are Hal and Hank.

It also has feminine forms of Harriet and Henrietta, from both female versions the nicknames Hattie, Hettie and Etta came about. There is also the French form of Henriette, and the Italian feminine form of Enza.

Likes its male counterpart, Harriet seems to be enjoying a recent surge in popularity. In Britain and Wales’ top 100 female names of 2008, she came in at # 73, while in the United States, she still has some ways to go, in fact, she has not been in the top 1000 for at least 9 years. The name was borne by Harriet Beacher Stowe.

The designated name day for all forms of this name is July 13.

Other forms include:

  • Hanrí هنري (Arabic: primarily used among Arab Christians)
  • Endika (Basque)
  • Enric (Catalan)
  • Henrik (Croatian/German/Hungarian/Scandinavian/Slovene)
  • Jindřich (Czech)
  • Hynek (Czech: originally a diminutive form, now used as an independent given name)
  • Henderik (Danish)
  • Henning (Danish/German/Norwegian/Swedish)
  • Driek/Dricus (Dutch: originally a diminutive form, used as an independent given name)
  • Dries (Dutch: originally a diminutive form, used as an independent given name)
  • Hein (Dutch: originally a diminutive form, now used as an independent given name)
  • Heino (Dutch/Estonian)
  • Hendrik (Dutch/Estonian/German)
  • Henk (Dutch/Limburgish: originally a diminutive form, now used as an independent given name)
  • Hal (English: originally a diminutive form, now used as an independent given name)
  • Hank (English: originally a diminutive form, now used exclusively as an independent given name)
  • Enrico (Estonian)
  • Harri (Finnish/Welsh)
  • Heikki (Finnish)
  • Henrikki (Finnish)
  • Henri (French)
  • Haio (Frisian)
  • Aiko/Eiko/Haiko/Heiko (Frisian)
  • Heink (Frisian)
  • Henner (Frisian)
  • Hinrich (Frisian)
  • Hainrixi ჰაინრიხი (Georgian)
  • Heimo (German)
  • Heiner (German: originally a diminutive form, now used as an independent given name)
  • Heinrich (German)
  • Heinz (German: diminutive form occasionally used as an independent given name)
  • Errikos (Greek)
  • Hinrik (Icelandic)
  • Anraí/Einrí (Irish-Gaelic)
  • Anrico (Italian)
  • Arrigo/Errigo (Italian)
  • Enrichetto (Italian)
  • Enrico (Italian)
  • Enzo/Enzio (Italian)
  • Richetto (Italian)
  • Rico (Italian: contracted form)
  • Rigo (Italian)
  • Henricus (Latin)
  • Indriķis (Latvian)
  • Herkus (Latvian)
  • Endrikis (Lithuanian)
  • Henrikas (Lithuanian)
  • Heng/Hari (Lexumbourgish)
  • Henno (Low German)
  • Hinderk/Hinnerk (Low German)
  • Jendrik (Low German)
  • Heimrich (Old German)
  • Hinnerk (Plattdeutsch)
  • Henryk (Polish)
  • Henrique (Portuguese/Galician)
  • Henric (Romanian)
  • Andri/Andrin (Romansch)
  • Gendrich/Genrich (Russian)
  • Eanraig (Scottish-Gaelic)
  • Hendry (Scottish)
  • Heinri/Heiri (Swiss-German: dialectical form)
  • Henrich (Slovak)
  • Hendrich (Sorbian)
  • Enrique (Spanish)
  • Hersh (Yiddish)

Female forms include:

  • Drika (Dutch)
  • Heintje (Dutch)
  • Hendrika/Hendrikje (Dutch)
  • Henriëtte (Dutch)
  • Jetta/Jette (Dutch/German: Originally diminutive forms, now used exclusively as independent given names)
  • Etta (English: contracted form)
  • Harriet (English)
  • Hattie (English: originally a diminutive form, used as an independent given name)
  • Henrietta (English)
  • Hettie (English: originally a diminutive form, used as an independent given name)
  • Henna (Finnish)
  • Henriikka (Finnish)
  • Henriette (French)
  • Hinriette (Frisian)
  • Heinriette (German: obscure)
  • Heinrike (German)
  • Henrike (German/Danish/Norwegian)
  • Enrica (Italian)
  • Enrichetta (Italian)
  • Enza (Italian)
  • Errichetta (Italian)
  • Rica (Italian)
  • Henryka (Polish)
  • Andrina (Romansch)
  • Henrika (Swedish)

4 thoughts on “Henry, Harry, Harriet, Henrietta

  1. I am really liking Henry at the moment. Edward and Henry are a handsome pair don't you think?

    Though I *really* don't like Harry at all. If there is any chance that Henry will always be Henry and never Harry I might just use this one.

    And he isn't too popular either. There were 250 Jack's born in my locale and only 46 Henry's. I can handle that.

  2. I think Henry and Edward are exceptionally handsome classics. I know a few Henrys and they have never gone by Harry, so I think you could get away just fine without using Harry as a nickname. These days, Harry seems to have broken off as an independent name and I find that people are associating Harry with Henry less and less.

  3. May I offer a few forms that are neither listed in the article nor in the Wikipedia entries?

    Two masculine Romansh forms are Andrin and Andri (I’m not 100% sure, more like 75-ish ;-), but I think the latter is pronounced Ahn-DREE with the stress on the last syllable. Similar names like Dumeni and Fadri sure are…)
    The feminine form of both is Andrina.

    Some Low German forms that might be interesting for English-speaking parents: Hinnerk, Hinderk, Hinrik, Hinrich, Jendrik, Henno

    Some “short forms” include: Heiner, Heinar, Heinke, Heinko, Henner, Hennig, Hinz.

    The Frisian feminine form is Hinriette and a very rare (and old/old-fashioned) German variant would be Heinriette.
    The short forms Jette (pr. YET-tə) and Jetta (pr. YET-tah) are sometimes used as independent given names nowadays.
    (I’ve also seen those occasionally in US birth announcements; maybe as a feminine form of Jett?)
    According to the German Naming Law (and their information), Yenta is considered a short form of Henrietta.
    I also found the form Enrietta.

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