Meaning: “bold people.”
The name is composed of the Old High German elements, liut (people) and pold (bold, brave).
It was initially popularized by a 10th-century Austrian saint, who is now considered the patron saint of Austria. The name became extremely popular with German and Austrian royalty. It was borne by two Holy Roman Emperors.
It was introduced into the English-speaking world in the 19th-century, popularized after Queen Victoria named her son Leopold in honour of her Belgian uncle, King Leopold of Belgium. Irish author, James Joyce used the name for a character in his 1920 novel Ulysses.
In late 19th-century America, the name may have been popular due to the sudden influx of German and Austrian immigrants. The highest he ever ranked in U.S. naming history was in 1895, when he came in as the 580th most popular male name.
Long considered dated in contemporary Germany and Austria, the name has recently been experiencing a revival. He is currently the 122nd most popular male name in Germany, (2011), and is the 280th most popular male name in France, (2009).
Other forms of the name include:
- Leopold (Czech/Dutch/English/French/German/Hungarian/Polish/Slovak/Slovene)
- Léopold (French)
- Lipót (Hungarian)
- Leópold (Icelandic)
A common Bavarian short form is Poldi and a common English short form is Leo.
Feminine forms include:
- Leopoldine (French/German)
- Leopolda (German/Slovene)
- Leopoldina (Slovene)
- Poldica (Slovene)
- Poldika (Slovene)
- Poldka (Slovene)