Osborn and Asbjørn are both composed of the Norse elements áss (god) & bjǫrn (bear), essentially meaning “divine bear.” Osborn is the modern Anglo-Saxon equivalent of Osbeorn, the latter of which was prevalent in Anglo-Saxon England and survived into the Norman period as Osbern, later developing into the common English patronymic surnames of Osbourne & Osbourn. Its Scandinavian equivalents still survive today in the forms of Esben (Danish), Espen (Danish, Norwegian) and still Asbjørn (Norwegian); and Asbjörn & Esbjörn (Swedish).
Osbeorn was borne by the son of Siward of Northumbria (circ. 11th-century CE) and one of the fallen of the Battle of the Seven Sleepers in Scotland. It was also borne by Osbern de Crépon (circ. 11th-century CE), one of the stewards of the Duke of Normandy. There are several other famous Anglophone personages who bear it as a surname and forename.
Asbjørn appeared in the Norwegian Top 100 Male Names between between 1945 & 1967, it peaked at #35 in 1946-7, while Espen appeared in the Top 100 in Norway between 1957-2004, peaking at #8 in 1982.
The designated name-day for Asbjörn is May 10th in Sweden.
General Scandinavian diminutive forms used in all Norse countries are Ebbe, Bjarne & Bjarni.
Short forms in English include Oz(z), Ozzie & Ozzy.
Other forms include:
- Osbeorn (Anglo-Saxon)
- Esbern (Danish, Faroese)
- Asbjørn (Danish, Norwegian)
- Esben, Espen (Danish, Norwegian)
- Ausburn (English)
- Osbourn (English)
- Osbern (French, archaic)
- Auber (French, archaic)
- Ásbjörn (Icelandic)
- Osberno (Italian)
- Sberno (Italian)
- Ásbjǫrn (Old Norse)
- Asbjörn/Esbjörn (Swedish)