Gender: Masculine
Origin: Old Norse
Meaning: “sea-bear.”

The name is composed of the Old Norse elements, saer (sea) and bjørn (bear).

As of 2010, Sæbjørn is the 8th most popular male name in the Faroe Islands.

Other forms of the name include:

  • Sæbjørn (Faroese/Norwegian/Old Norse)
  • Sæbjörn (Icelandic)
  • Sebjørn (Norwegian)
  • Sebjörn (Swedish)


Gender: Masculine
Origin: Old Norse
Meaning: “eagle-bear.”

The name is composed of the Nordic elements, arn (eagle) and bjørn (bear).

As of 2010, this was the 8th most popular male name in the Faroe Islands.

Other forms include:

  • Ambjørn (Danish/Norwegian)
  • An(n)bjørn (Danish/Norwegian)
  • Arnbjørn (Danish/Faroese/Norwegian/Old Norse)
  • Arnbernus (Danish)
  • Hambe (English: archaic)
  • Arinbjørn (Faroese/Old Norse)
  • Arinbjörn (Icelandic)
  • Arnbjörn (Icelandic/Swedish)
  • Árbjörn (Icelandic)
  • Ambjörn (Swedish)


Gender: Masculine
Origin: German
Meaning: “bear.”

The name is believed to be a contraction of any Germanic name which begis with the bern (bear) element.

The name was popularized by a 12th-century German saint, Benno of Meissen. He is revered as the patron saint of anglers, weavers and oddest of all, alliteration.

Currently, Benno is the 215th most popular male name in Germany, (2011)/

Other forms of the name include:

  • Beno (Czech/Hungarian/Slovak)
  • Benno (German/Romansch)
  • Bennone (Italian)
A Polish feminine form is Benona.


  1. http://www.behindthename.com/name/benno
  2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benno

Bernard, Bernadette

Gender: Masculine
Origin: Old German
Meaning: “brave as a bear; hardy as a bear.”
(Am. Eng) (ber-NARD); (Brit. Eng) (BER-nerd)

The name is composed of the Old High Germanic elements, bern (bear) and hard (brave; hardy).

The name was introduced into England by the conquering Normans in the 10th-century, replacing the more Anglo-Saxon version of Beornheard.

It became quite prevalent throughout Western Europe during the middle ages due to the associations with St. Bernard of Menthon, a Swiss monastic credited to building hospices in the Alps, (it is from him that the breed of dog, the St. Bernard, takes its name) and St. Bernard of Clairvaux, an influential 12th-century French theologian who is revered as both a saint and Doctor of the Church by the Catholic Church.

As of 2009, the name fell out of the U.S. top 1000 most popular male names. The highest he ever ranked in U.S. naming history was at # 45 in 1919 and again in 1921.

Its more popular feminine version of Bernadette became prevalent, especially among Catholics throughout the Western World, after the Canonization of St. Bernadette Soubirous (née Marie-Bernarde Soubirous). St. Bernadette was a 19th-century French peasant girl credited to seeing visions of the Virgin Mary in Lourdes, France.

Before her recognition throughout the world, Bernadette was primarily a diminutive, used as an affectionate form of the French feminine name, Bernarde.

The last time Bernadette ranked in the U.S. top 1000 was in 1993, coming in at # 891. The highest she ever ranked in U.S. naming history was in 1946, coming in as the 188th most popular female name. Its Hungarian cognate of Bernadett currently ranks in as the 76th most popular female name in Hungary (2009).



Bernardi (Albanian)
Bernal (Aragonese/Galician)
Beñat (Basque)
Bernarta (Basque)
Bernez (Breton)
Bernat (Catalan)
Bernardu (Corsican/Sardinian)
Bernard (Croatian/Czech/English/French/German/Polish/Romanian/Romansch/Slovenian/Swedish)
Bernhardt/Bernhart (Danish/Finnish/German/Norwegian/Swedish)
Berend (Dutch)
Bernaard (Dutch)
Bernhard (Dutch/Estonian/German)
Päärn/Pärn/Pärno (Estonian)
Pääro (Estonian)
Pearn/Pearu (Estonian)
Bernardin (French/Romansch)
Bent (Frisian)
Bernaldo (Galician)
Bernaldino (Galician)
Berendt (German)
Berinhard (German: archaic)
Bernd/Berndt (German/Swedish)
Bernárd (Hungarian)
Bernát (Hungarian)
Bennardo/Bennardino (Italian)
Berardo (Italian)
Bernadetto (Italian)
Bernardino (Italian)
Bernardo (Italian/Portuguese/Spanish)
Bernoardo (Italian)
Bearnárd (Irish-Gaelic)
Bernardus (Late Latin)
Bernards (Latvian)
Bierants (Latvian)
Biernis (Latvian)
Bernardas (Lithuanian)
Beurnard (Poitevin)


Bernardete (Albanian/Portuguese)
Bernada (Catalan/Occitanian)
Bernadeta (Catalan/Occitanian/Polish)
Bernarda (Croatian/German/Italian/Slovene/Spanish/Polish/Portuguese)
Bernadette (English/French)
Bernarde (French)
Bernardine (French)
Bernadett (Hungarian)
Bernadetta/Bernardetta (Italian)
Bernardina (Italian)
Bernadetė (Lithuanian)
Bernardka (Slovenian)
Bernardita (Spanish)

Common English diminutives for both names are Bernie & Benny.

In French it is Bébère, Nanard and Bernie for males.

A Polish female diminutive is Bernardetka.

The designated name-day is August 20.


  1. http://www.behindthename.com/name/bernard


Gender: Masculine
Origin: Danish/Norwegian/Swedish/Old Norse
Meaning: “bear.”

The name is derived from an Old Norse by name meaning “bear.” In modern Scandinavian languages, the modern word for bear is still björn (Swedish) and bjørn (Danish/Norwegian).

Other forms of the name include:

Besse (Danish)
Bjarke (Danish)
Bjarne (Danish/Norwegian/Swedish)
Bjarno (Danish)
Bjerne (Danish)
Bjørn (Danish/Faroese/Norwegian)
Bjørn0 (Danish)
Bersi (Faroese/Icelandic/Old Norse)
Bessi (Faroese/Icelandic)
Birni (Faroese)
Bjarki (Faroese/Icelandic)
Bjarni (Faroese/Icelandic)
Björn (Icelandic/Swedish)
Bjønne (Norwegian)
Bjørne (Norwegian)
Björne (Swedish)
Björner (Swedish)

A few feminine forms include the Iceland and Faroese Bera, Birna and Bersa.

Bjorn is also used in German-speaking countries and in the Netherlands.

The designated name-day in Sweden is June 18.


  1. http://www.behindthename.com/name/bjo12rne
  2. http://www.nordicnames.de/wiki/Biǫrn


Gender: Masculine
Origin: Norwegian/Old Norse
Meaning: “one winter old bear.”

The name is derived from the Old Norse Veturliði which is composed of the elements vetr meaning “winter” and liði meaning “one who fares.” Veturliði is still in use in Iceland and the Faroe Islands. Other forms include the Old Norse Vetreliðr and Vetreliði, other Norwegian dialectical forms include Velle (Rogaland) and Vete/Vette (Östfeld).

In modern Norwegian the word Vetle coincides with the word for small. In this case it is the name of one of Norway’s highest mountain peaks known as the Vetle Skagastølstinden or the Vesle Skagastølstind.

The designated name-day in Norway is November 1.


ursulaBritishMuseumGender: Feminine
Origin: Latin
Meaning: “little she-bear; she-cub; little female bear.”
Eng (ERS-uh-LAH)

The name is of Latin origin but is suggested that is may be a latinization of the old Germanic female name Yrsa meaning “bear” and was popularized by a medieval Christian saint said to be martyred in Cologne. Not much is known about the saint, other that she was martyred under Huns along with 11,000 other virgins, which is now believed to be a misprint from the written source of the legend. What is known for sure is that there was a basilica built in honour of a virgin Christian martyr in Cologne and from this arose several different legends referring to a St. Ursula and St. Cordula. According to the legend, St. Ursula was a British princess who was sent by her father to Germany to marry a prince, along with her, were sent 11,000 maidens, however,  her ship was taken off course due to a storm and instead ended up in France where she then decided to do a pan-European Christian pilgramage before meeting her future husband. She made a pilgramage to Rome where she tried to pursuade the pope to do a pilgramage with her and her 11,ooo companions. When she reached cologne she and her companions were massacred by the Huns.

The legend is based off of a 4th century inscription written in the Basilica which was built in the saint’s honour. It is believed that the 11,ooo handmaidens was confused with a female martyr named Undecimilia, Undecimila or Xemilia and that the abbreviation XI.M.V was misread as a number. The same saint has also been referred to under the names Pinnosa or Vinnosa. The name was quite prevalent in Great Britain before the Reformation and went out of usage afterwards. The name is also borne by Swiss actress Ursula Andress (b. 1936). It has also appeared in popular culture as the name of the evil sea-witch in Disney’s the Little Mermaid and as the name of the wife of Nigellus Phineas Black in the Harry Potter Series.

In Poland, the name is associated with a great piece of Polish Literature written by Jan Kochanowski. Known as Laments (Treny) 1580, they are a series of 19 elegies which talk about the author’s grief after the death of his two and half year old daughter Orszola (Urzula) which he refers to as the Slavic Sappho.

Other forms of the name are (divided alphabetically by nationality):

  • Orsula (Corsican)
  • Uršula (Croatian/Czech/Slovakian/Slovenian)
  • Yrsa (Danish/Faroese/Icelandic/Norwegian/Swedish)
  • Orsel (Dutch)
  • Ursule/Ursuline (French)
  • Ursula/Ursel (German/Dutch/Estonian/Finnish/Spanish: German diminutive forms are Ulla, Uli and Uschi)
  • Orsolya (Hungarian: or-SHOH-lah was the 56th most popular female name in Hungary in 2006)
  • Úrsúla (Icelandic)
  • Orsina/Orsola/Orsolina (Italian)
  • Ursa (Latin)
  • Urzula (Latvian)
  • Uršulė (Lithuanian)
  • Urszula/Orszola/Warszula (Polish: Latter two forms are older forms and are rarely used. Diminutive form is Ula and Urszulka. Older diminutive forms are Ulicha and Ulita)
  • Úrsula (Portuguese)
  • Ursetta/Ursina/Urschla (Romansch)
  • Urška (Slovenian: originally a diminutive now used as an independent given name, it was the 51st most popular female name in Slovenia in 2005)
  • Orscheli (Swiss-German: ORSH-lee)

There are a few male equivalents which include:

  • Orso/Orsino/Ursio/Ursino (Italian)
  • Urs (German)
  • Ursinus/Ursus (Latin)
  • Ursyn/Ursycjusz (Polish: very rare)
  • Ursin/Urosin (Romansch)


black-bearGender: Masculine
Origin: Finnish
Meaning: “bear.”

The name comes from the Old Finnish word for bear. Its designated name-day is October 11. In ancient Finnish religion, the term otso was used to conjure the spirit of the bear, it was a sort of euphemisim since you were not allowed to refer to any animal or animal spirit by its true name. It was believed that the bear was related to humanity but had been transformed by the forest centuries ago.