Berenice, Bernice

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Greek Βερενικη
Meaning: “bringer of victory.”
Eng (ber-ə-NIE-see; ber-NEES); Fre (beh-hreh-NEES); It (bey-rey-NEE-cheh)

The name is an ancient Macedonian form of the Attic Greek, Pherenikë (Φερενίκη), which is composed of the Greek elements, phero (φέρω), “to bear” and nike (νίκη), “victory.” The earliest attestation of the name is a 3rd-century priestess of Demeter.

The name has often been associated with Veronica, but there is still debate as to whether these two names are actually related.

Berenice was a common one among the Ptolomy dynasty of Egypt, being borne by at least 9 Ptolomaic women. It also seems to have been common among the late Judaean Kingdom royalty, being born by 3 Jewish princesses, one of whom appears briefly in the New Testament as the name King Herod’s sister.

It was later borne by an early Christian Greek martyr, making the name remain common after the debut of Christianity.

In the English-speaking world, she has appeared interchangeably as Berenice and Bernice. In the United States, Bernice seems to have been the more common form, the highest she ever ranked was in 1921, coming in as the 39th most popular female name.

As of 2011, neither Berenice or Bernice appear in the U.S. top 1000, but Bérénice was the 279th most popular female name in France, (2010).

Other forms of the name include:

  • Bjeranika Бераніка (Belarusian)
  • Berenice (Catalan/Dutch/English/Italian/Portuguese/Spanish)
  • Berenika Береника (Czech/Polish/Russian/Slovak)
  • Bernice (English)
  • Bérénice (French)
  • Berenike (German)
  • Bereníkē Βερενίκη (Greek: modern)
  • Bereniké (Hungarian)

Veronica, Berenice, Bernice

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Greek
Meaning: “true image; bringer of victory.”
Eng (veh-RON-ik-uh); Eng (bare-eh-NIE-see); Eng (ber-NEES)

Veronica and Berenice have a very long history of usage.

In the ancient world, Berenice was a Greek royal name, possibly derived from the Greek elements, φερω (phero), meaning, “to bring” and νικη (nike), meaning “victory.” However, other sources contend that Veronica is a completely different name of a different etymology, being composed of the Latin phrase, vera icon, meaning, “true image.” This meaning is most likely in reference to the legend of St.Veronica, who in Catholic and Orthodox tradition was a lady who wiped Christ’s face with her veil. According to the legend, Christ’s face miraculously imprinted itself on her veil.

Berenice also appears in the New Testament, but seems to have been a common female name in the ancient Greek world. It was borne by several Greek and Macedonian royal princesses.

Veronica was occasionally used in Medieval England, but went out of usage, even before the Protestant Reformation. It remained common on the Continent.

Veronica became prevalent in 2oth-century America due to the sudden influx Catholic European immigrants. Currently, Veronica is the 216th most popular female name in the United States, (2008). She experienced a short surge of popularity between the 1970s and 80s, the highest she ranked was at # 68.

Berenice/Bernice were introduced into the English speaking world during the Protestant Reformation. Currently, Berenice does not appear in the U.S. top 1000, the last time she was seen was in 2003, coming in as the 855th most popular female name. However, in 1921, Bernice was the 39th most popular female name in the United States. Bernice fell out of the top 1000 in 1985.

Other forms of Veronica include:

  • Veronika Вероника (Croatian/Czech/German/Hungarian/Latvian/Lithuanian/Norwegian/Russian/Serbian/Slovak/Slovene/Swedish)
  • Veronica (Danish/English/Finnish/Italian/Romanian)
  • Véronique (French)
  • Weronika (Polish)
  • Weronikia (Polish: obscure)
  • Verônica (Portuguese)
  • Feruna (Slovene: obscure)
  • Verónica (Spanish)

An Italian masculine form is Veronico.

Russian diminutives include: Veronichka, Vera, Verona, Ronya, Ronyusha, Verunya, Verusha, Vicky, Nick, Nikasha, and Nikusha.

Slovene diminutives include: Nika, Roni, Ronja, Ronka, Verona, Veroni, Veronica, Veronka and Veruša.

Common English short forms are: Nicki, Ronnie and Vera.

Other Berenice forms include:

  • Vernika (Czech)
  • Berenika (Czech/Polish/Slovene)
  • Berenice (English/Italian: be-reh-NEE-che)
  • Bernice (English)
  • Berenike Βερενικη (Greek)
  • Bernike Βερνικη (Greek)
  • Pherenike Φερενικη (Greek: ancient Attic Greek)
  • Bereniké (Hungarian)
  • Verenika (Russian)

In English, Bunny is used as a pet form of Bernice.

The designated name-day is February 4.