Gender: Feminine
Origin: Welsh
Meaning: “white ring; white moon.”

The name is composed of the Welsh elements, gwen (white; blessed; fair) and dolen (ring; wreath; bow; brow; hair; moon).

The name first appeared in Geoffrey of Monmouth’s 1135 Historia Regum Britanniae in the form of Guendoloena as the name of a Welsh queen. He used the name again in the Vita Merlini in which it is the name of Merlin’s wife.

The name, however, did not come into common usage until the 18th-century.

It is also the name of a heroin in George Eliot’s novel, Daniel Deronda.

As of 2010, its French form of Gwendoline was the 415th most popular female name in France, while Gwendolyn ranks in as the 571st most popular female name in the United States, (2011).

Other forms of the name include:

  • Guendolen (English)
  • Guendoloena (English)
  • Gwendolen (English/Welsh)
  • Gwendolyn (English)
  • Gwendoline (French)
  • Guendalina (Italian)
Common short forms are Gwen, Gwendy and Wendy.