Origin of the Name Harold

The boy’s name Harold is an old English name. The meaning of Harold comes from the Old English name Hereweald. The element ‘here’ meant “army”; while ‘weald’ meant “power, leader, or ruler” which led to a modern meaning of “heroic or war leader”.

This name has a significant historical significance as this name was the name of five kings of Norway, three kings of Denmark, as well of course as the name of two English kings.

Popularity of Harold

The name was quite popular in England until the Norman invasion where King Harold II (Godwineson) died at the battle of Hastings in 1066. The popularity of Harold made a revival in the nineteenth century. In the Twentieth Century there were still famous people named Harold such as Harold Alexander who was the first Earl Alexander and a Field Marshal in WWII. Politically the former Prime Minister of England Harold Wilson chose to use the name until his death in 1995. Unfortunately, the name has not sustained its popularity into the Twenty-First Century. This name should be more popular because people named Harold have been successful across many professions. This name is ready for a comeback and in 2013 it was not .

Famous People with the Name

The two kings of England who bore the name Harold were of mixed Scandinavian and Anglo-Saxon decent. At one point in time Harold was also used as a girl’s name. The former Prime Minister Harold Wilson was born James Harold Wilson. He chose to drop his first name and go by Harold because he felt it was stronger and more unique name. In the field of Prime Ministers Australia birthed their own; that was named Harold Holt. He also served in the Australian army. Another English Harold is Harold Pinter who in 2005 won the Nobel Prize for Literature. He was a noted poet, playwright, screenwriter, director and actor. In America they are proud of their own Harold Ramis. He was a writer, actor, and director from Chicago. He acted in the Ghostbuster movies and wrote the movie Groundhog Day. Obviously this name does not stop people from excelling and reaching heights that others only dream of.

Useful Resources

Check out the meaning and popularity of other boys’ names on this website