Bree, Brígh

BreeBree can have several different origins and meanings, but is ultimately an anglicized form of the Gaelic female name, Brígh, which is a Gaelic word that can have several meanings, including: “essence, gist, matter, pith, purport, substance; meaning, sense, significance; point (of an argument); energy, force; and or “juice.”

Bree (pronounced BRAY) is also the name of a city in Belgium. In this case, the name is believed to derive from either the Medieval Dutch bred (wooden settlement) or the Dutch broek (brook, marsh). Bree appears as the name of places throughout the Dutch-speaking world, including Maasbree in the Netherlands and the Breede River in South Africa.

Brée (also pronounced BRAY) is also the name of a commune in France. In this case, its etymology is unknown.

In J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, Bree is the name of a village in Middle Earth, which is believed to be inspired by the village of Brill in Buckinghamshire in England and also a play on the Celtic element bre (hill).

In C.S. Lewis’ Narnia chronicles, the name features prominently in A Horse and His Boy, in which Bree is the name of a talking horse.

In recent years, the name has made an appearance in The Twilight Series by Stephanie Meyers, as the name of a minor peripheral Vampire character who was featured in her own novella, The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner (2010).

Bree is also the name of one of the main characters in the American TV series, Desparate Housewives. Another notable bearer is American actress and model, Bree Olson (b. 1986).

In the United States, Bree appeared in the U.S. Top 1000 between 2006 and 2012 and peaked at #868 in 2010.




Gender: Feminine
Origin: Celtic
Meaning: debated

Bridget is an anglicization of the Irish Gaelic Brighid, which is of somewhat debated meaning. One theory is that it is derived from the Gaelic brígh, meaning, “power, strength, vigor, virtue.”

Another theory put out by Gods and Fighting Men (1904), translated by Lady Augusta Gregory, is that it is from the Gaelic breo-saighit meaning, “fiery arrow.”

Other sources have suggested it to mean “exalted one.”

In Celtic mythology, this was the name of an extremely important and powerful goddess.

According to the medieval Irish anthology, Lebor Gabála Érenn, Bridget was a goddess of poetry and was the daughter of Dagda. She was also associated with fire, wisdom and anything with an elevated status, whether it be a high mountain top, or someone of high social status.

The name was also borne by an early Irish saint, whose story and legend often melds with that of the ancient goddess. St. Bridget of Kildare was believed to have been a nun and one of the first converts under St. Patrick.

The St. Bridget’s Cross is often attributed to her, according to legend, she came upon a dying non- Christian man, in an effort to convert him to the new religion, she made a cross from the reeds that were beside him. That is all that is known of the origins of the St. Bridget’s Cross, but traditionally, a new one is made each year, on the feast of St. Bridget, (Feb. 1) while the old one is burned.

The feast of St. Bridget, which in some calenders falls on the 1st or 2nd of February,was originally one of the major festivals of the Celtic calender, known as Imbolc, it marked the first days of spring.

The name Bridget spread outside the Celtic world to the Germanic countries, it was popularized in Scandinavia by St. Bridget of Sweden, a Swedish noblewoman, mystic and founder of the Bridgettine order of nuns. She was also the mother of St. Katherine of Vadstena.

Between the 18th and 19th-centuries, when Irish immigrants first settled in the United States, the name was so common among the Irish, that Bridget or its diminutive form of Biddy became a slang term for any Irish woman.

Currently, Bridget 394th most popular female name in the United States, 2008. Its cognate of Brigitta is currently the 88th most popular female name in Hungary, (2008).

Other forms of the name include:

  • Brigit (Asturian/Scottish)
  • Birkide/Birxita (Basque: beer-KEE-de, beer-SHEE-tah)
  • Brec’hed (Breton: modern)
  • Brigantis (Breton: ancient)
  • Brigita Бригита (Bulgarian/Croatian/Czech/Latvian/Lithuanian/Romanian/Slovak/Slovene)
  • Brígida (Catalan/Portuguese/Spanish)
  • Brigantia (Celtic)
  • Berit (Danish/Norwegian: BEH-reet)
  • Birgit (Danish/Norwegian/Swedish: BEER-geet)
  • Birgitta (Danish/Dutch/Estonian/Finnish/German/Icelandic/Lithuanian: beer-GEET-tah)
  • Birgitte (Danish/German: beer-GEET-te)
  • Birte/Birthe (Danish/Norwegian: BEER-te)
  • Gitte (Danish: originally a diminutive form, used as an independent given name: GEET-te)
  • Bridget (English/German)
  • Pirjo (Finnish: PEER-yo)
  • Pirkko (Finnish” PEERK-ko)
  • Piritta (Finnish: PEE-reet-tah)
  • Priitta (Finnish: PREET-tah)
  • Brigitte (French: bree-ZHEET)
  • Bríxida (Galician: BREE-shee-dah)
  • Berecyntia (Gaulic)
  • Brigindo/Brigandu (Gaulic)
  • Birgid (German: BEER-geet)
  • Brida (German: obscure)
  • Brigida (German/Sardinian: bree-GEE-dah)
  • Brigitta (German/Hungarian)
  • Bríd (Irish-Gaelic: BREED)
  • Brídín (Irish-Gaelic: brid-EEN)
  • Brighid/Brigid (Irish-Gaelic)
  • Bedelia (Irish)
  • Bride (Irish: BRIDE or BREED)
  • Brigidine (Irish)
  • Brigida (Italian: BREEJ-ee-dah)
  • Brigidina (Italian: obscure)
  • Briej (Limburgish)
  • Brede (Manx)
  • Breesha (Manx)
  • Breeshey (Manx)
  • Breda (Norwegian: BREH-dah)
  • Brita/Britta/Brit/Britt (Norwegian/Swedish: BREE-tah, BRIT-tah, BRITT)
  • Bryda (Polish)
  • Brygida (Polish: brih-GEE-dah)
  • Braida/Brida (Romansch)
  • Brìghde/Brìde (Scots-Gaelic)
  • Gittan (Swedish: originally a diminutive form, used as an independent given name: GEET-tahn)
  • Ffraid (Welsh: FRAID)

A Swiss German diminutive form is Brigittli. German short forms are: Biggi, Briggi, Gitte, Gitti and Gittl.

Irish and English diminutives are: Biddy, Bride, Bree, Brie, Bridie and Bridge.