The name is of uncertain origin or meaning, but may be related to the Phoenician deity name, Melqart, which means “king city” or possibly even to the Hebrew components, malki (my king) and or (light), which would roughly translate as “my king is light.”
According to Christian lore, it is the name of one of the Three Wise Men (Magi) who visited Christ.
Its designated name-day is January 6th.
Other forms of the name include:
- Meltxor (Basque)
- Melcion/Melcior (Catalan)
- Melchioru (Corsican)
- Melkior (Croatian/Serbian/Slovene)
- Melker (Danish/Norwegian/Swedish: currently very popular in Sweden, in 2007, it was the 54th most popular male name in Sweden)
- Melchior (English/French/German/Polish/Slovak)
- Malchior (German/Polish: older forms)
- Marchal/Melcher (German: archaic)
- Melchiorre (Italian)
- Melchioras/Melkijoras (Lithuanian)
- Merkelis (Lithuanian)
- Melkjor (Maltese)
- Marchion (Occitanian)
- Melhior (Polish: very obscure)
- Belchior (Portuguese)
- Melkhior (Russian)
- Melichar (Slovak)
- Melchor (Spanish/Galician)
an obscure feminine form is Melchiora.