German men’s first names

Andrew Hammel is concerned about the Christian names of the German football team (Remigius-Ekkehard Scores!, ending with an interrobang).

Yesterday the German men’s national soccer team won the World Cup. But what sort of names did these “‘Germans'” have? Per and Philipp are just barely acceptable, but Toni? Kevin? Mario? Sami? Manuel?


Did we lose a war, people?!

But in the interim period, forgetting the Remigiuses and Siegfrieds (I know a couple of Ekkehards, somewhat younger than me), there are quite a few weird German male names. I once spent half an hour with a friend, going through all the ones we could think of.

With apologies in advance to those affected, what about:

Uwe, Udo, Lars, Bodo, Axel, Tillmann, Rüdiger, Wolfgang, Wolf, Heribert, Egon, Golo, Friedhelm, Hans-Werner, Horst, Günter, Jörg, Eberhard.

When Friedwald was first introduced, I thought it might make a German first name.

Of course some curious English names too. Wayne is odd, but his elder son Kai a normal German name.

So the first fruit has fallen from Wayne Rooney’s loins. Coleen Rooney gave birth to an 8lb boy yesterday, which the couple have named Kai.

The name appears to have various origins across different cultures. asserts that it is Hawaiian in origin and means ocean, although it adds that Kai could also come from “the Welsh form of Caius”, which apparently means “the keeper of the keys”. Meanwhile, a company presumably not linked to, insists Kai is of Scandinavian origin, meaning “rejoice”.

7 thoughts on “German men’s first names

  1. Hm. With the possible exception of Heribert and Golo those are all absolutely common names for people my age. Maybe not Lars, that came later. Only very few of them would be a normal choice for children born today though (possibly, Lars, Tillmann and Wolf).

  2. I might have to declare an interest here. But I agree with your list, and am more than happy that I didn’t end up with any of those names. Overall, I think I got off lightly, and the name is quite useful for providing small talk on those occasions when conversation is heavy going.
    Incidentally, has it ever been commented on that, without exception, all English male names beginning with ‘H-‘ are eccentric at best, but mostly just downright weird?

    • Yep. Also: Hugh, Horace, Harold, Henry, Hank, Harland, Harvey, Heathcliff, Howard, Hugo, Humphrey, Hunter, Hector, Hubert…

  3. And Humbert, of course.
    I haven’t actually met a Heathcliff, but I suppose there are some around.
    There are a lot of weird names that are taken from surnames, and Hunter, Harland and Heathcliff may fall into that category. I suppose that isn’t done in German.

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