Meaning: “wooded, wild.”
Sylvester is an English corruption of the Latin name Silvester, which is derived from the Latin word silvestis meaning “wooded” or “wild.”
The name is borne by several saints and popes, “Silvester” became synonymous with the name for New Years Eve in some countries, since December 31st is the feast of St. Silvester.
Silvester is used in Danish, German, English, Slovene and Slovak.
Before the Reformation, Sylvester was a fairly common male name in England, but went out of usage due to its strong papal associations at the time.
Other forms of the name include:
- Silvestre (Catalan/Spanish)
- Silivestru (Corsican)
- Silvestar (Croatian)
- Silvestr/Sylvestr (Czech)
- Sylvester (English/Finnish/Swedish/Ukrainian)
- Silvar/Silver (Estonian)
- Sylvestre (French)
- Fester (Frisian/Limburgish)
- Szilveszter (Hungarian)
- Silvestro (Italian)
- Silvester (Latin/Estonian)
- Silvestrs (Latvian)
- Vester (Limburgish)
- Silvestras (Lithuanian)
- Sylfest/Sølfest (Norwegian)
- Sylwester (Polish: diminutive forms are: Syc, Syczek, Syczko, Sych, Sychno, Sychta, Sysz, Syszek, Syszka and Syszko)
An Italian and Slovene feminine form is Silvestra.
The name is currently borne by American actor, Sylvester Stallone (b.1946).
In American popular culture, it was borne by the animated cat named for the the felis silvestris catus, a subspecies of wildcat that was believed to be related to the domesticated cat, at the time. Later scientific evidence established them as two separate species..
A common English nickname is Sly.