The_Story_of_Patient_Griselda_circa_1490Origin: German/Italian/Portuguese/Spanish
Gender: Feminine
Meaning: “grey battle; grey gravel.”

The name is either derived from the Germanic gris meaning “grey” and hild meaning “battle” or the Germanic gries meaning “gravel, stone.” The name was used in folklore as a sort of euphemism for a patient and obedient woman. In the dark tale written by Italian poet Boccaccio, it is the name of the wife of a nobleman who is told by husband that her children must die. She obeys, but does not realize that she is being tested by her husband, who has taken the children away and hid them in another town, rather than kill them. Griselda’s husband then tells her that he must divorce her and marry another woman, when he introduces her to the “new wife” (a twelve year old little girl who is actually her daughter), Griselda wishes them well and at this her husband reveals that all he had put her through had been a test. The same tale is retold in Chaucer’s The Clerk’s Tale, in which case, Griselda is treated as an allegory for the Biblical Job. Charles Perrault took the same tale and wrote Patient Griselda. There was a play based off of the French version entitled Patient Grissel (1599). There are several Italian opera’s based off the story including La Griselda by Alessandro Scarlatti (1721). The name is used in Italy, Spain and was common in German speaking countries but is now considered dated. Other forms of the name include:

  • Grizelda (Czech/Slovak/Hungarian)
  • Selda (Dutch contraction)
  • Grissel (English)
  • Griselde/Grisold (German)
  • Zelda (German/English contraction)
  • Grizeldisz (Hungarian)
  • Grizel (Scottish)

2 thoughts on “Griselda

  1. Pingback: Zelda | Legitimate Baby Names

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