Eng; (meh-DARD; MED-erd); Fre (may-DAR); Slovakian/Slovene (MEH-dard).
The name is an ald Frankish name composed of the Germanic elements madal meaning “gathering place”and hard meaning “firm; strong.”
The name is rather old fashioned in French speaking countries but is occassionally used in Belgium and the French speaking areas of Canada. It is also used in Slovakia and Slovenia.
The name was borne by a 6th-century French saint, Médard of Noyon. He was Frankish noble, the son of Nédard and Protage and the brother of Saint Gilard, Bishop of Rouen.
Medard himself eventually became a bishop and was beloved by his parishioners. He was the Bishop of Vermand but later moved his see to Noyon due to a war which was waging in his district.
Each year, in Rosieres France, on his feast day of June 8th, a tradition is attributed to him. A girl who is voted the most exemplary in the town is invited to participate in a ceremony in which 12 boys and 12 girls escort her down the Church aisle where she is crowned with roses and awarded a scholarship for her educational pursuits.
One legend attributed to the saint is that, one day, as a young boy, his father left him out in the rain by mistake. An eagle appeared, hovered over him, and sheltered him from the rain. Legend holds that if it rains on June 8th (his feast day), the next 40 years will be wet. However, if the June 8th weather is good, so will the weather be the next 40 years.
St. Medard is the patron saint of good weather and against thunderstorms.
Other forms of the name include:
- Méard (French)
- Médard (French)
- Machtard (German: archaic form)
- Medard/Medardus (German/Czech/Polish)
- Medárd (Hungarian)
- Dardo (Italian)
- Metardo (Italian)
- Medardo (Spanish/Italian)
A feminine version is the Italian Medarda.