An old French male name that has always been common in Francophonia, the name is of debated origins and meaning, and was borne by a 5th-century bishop and saint who converted Clovis, king of the Franks, to Christianity.
Since the saint was from Reims, some sources concur that is is derived from the name of the city, which in itself, got its name from the Reims, an ancient Celtic people who inhabited the area. The word may be related to an ancient Gaulic or Celtic word meaning, “the first”, “the ancient ones” or “princes.”
Other souces believe that it is derived from the Latin name, Remigius, (since in Latin, the saint was known as St. Remigius), which is derived from remigis, meaning, “oarsman” or from the Latin, remedium meaning, “that which cures.”
According to the Medieval classic, which recounts the lives of the saints, called, The Golden Book, (written by Jacques de Voraigne), the name is related to the Greek elements, remi, meaning “grazing” and gios, meaning, “land; earth.” However, the latter meaning should be taken less seriously, as the author was trying to find a meaning of the name that would express the attributes and deeds of the saint.
In 2006, Rémi was the 81st most popular male name in France.
If we are to believe that Rémi is related to the Latin, Remigius, then cognates would include:
- Remigio (Italian/Spanish)
- Remigius (Latin)
- Remigiusz (Polish)
- Remígio (Portuguese)
- Remigiu (Romanian)
A feminine form is Remigia.
The designated name-day is January 15.