Origins of the Name Rufus

The Rufus name has existed in England for centuries as a boys name. The meaning of Rufus originally derives from the ancient Latin language spoken by the Romans. They invaded the British Isle during the days of Julius Caesar and eventually some Romans settled in England. The popularity of Rufus dates from at least the Roman era.

Meaning of Rufus

The Rufus name means “red” or “red haired.” Despite the ancient meaning of Rufus, the name today can apply to children with any color of hair. The popularity of Rufus as a name declined somewhat recently, but you will still find the Rufus name in wide use in many countries, including the British Isles.

The meaning of Rufus probably applied when English people referred to King William II as “William Rufus.” The favorite son of William the Conqueror was known to possess red hair.


Since that period, the popularity of Rufus as a name fluctuated greatly. Today Rufus is the 236th most popular British boys name. However, many famous Englishmen still claim the name. They include the comedian Rufus Jones, the actor Rufus Sewell, the soccer player Rufus Brevett and even the fictional character of Harry Potter story fame, Rufus Scrimgeour.

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