American Names · Classic, Old, and Traditional Names · Medieval Names

The “Ric” Element

“Ric” is a Germanic element which means “rule” or “power.” Some of my favorite classic and pretentiously archaic (I mean that in a good way!) names belong to this category. The classics of the list are kingly, but evoke understated elegance and responsibility. The archaic gems are like dusty tomes and their old-book aroma – either utterly enchanting or utterly off-putting to people, but the enchanted will treasure and keep them. I’m excited because some of the more obscure names are starting to spread in usage or conversation!

For this post, I’ve looked for names containing this element, their meanings, and their rankings in both the U.S. and England and Wales.  Behind the Name is my source for definitions and the U.S. rankings (which in turn come from the Social Security Administration – sometimes I prefer the formatting on BtN, but it’s the same info). The British rankings came from the Office of National Statistics.  I also used the name directory at Nancy’s Baby Names to check the trends of rarer names.

Henry – #29 in U.S., #13 in England and Wales; rising. Henry is one of those names that’s never even left the top 200 yet somehow feels fresh and renewed. According to Behind the Name, Henry derives from a name meaning “home ruler.”

Henry VIII – The most famous Henry?

Richard – #155 in U.S., #256 in England / Wales; falling in U.S. but rose in England and Wales between 2014 and 2015. Another royal name, meaning: “brave power.” Honestly, I want to see this name make his comeback. If Arthur and Walter are returning, why can’t Richard? I grant that a certain unfortunate nickname is a hindrance, but apparently not enough to throw Richard out of the U.S. top 200 just yet.

Derek – #210 in U.S.  Only 15 boys in England and Wales. According to Behind the Name, Derek ultimately derives from Theodoric (see below).

Frederick – #576 in U.S., #76 in England / Wales; rising. Meaning: “peaceful ruler.” I haven’t written on Frederick, but I have a profile on his lovely feminine counterpart Frederica.

Emery – #731 for boys (U.S.); only 4 boys in E/W. Far more popular as a boys’ name, this derives from the older name Emmerich, which BtN suggests derives from multiple ancient “ric” names.  

Roderick – 185 boys in 2015; 3 boys in E/W. In U.S., rose slightly between 2014 and 2015.  Meaning: “Famous power.”

Alaric – 181 boys in 2015 (U.S.); 4 boys in E/W. Alaric is rising in U.S.  Meaning: “Ruler of all”

Aubrey – 147 boys; #779 in E/W (41 boys).  In U.S., rose slightly from 2014-2015. Aubrey the men’s name and Aubrey the women’s name have different origins. If a masculine name, it comes from Alberich.  If feminine, it comes from Alberada…which is most decidedly not a “ric” name!

Godric – 40 in 2015 (U.S.); rising.  Meaning: “power of God.” Godric Gryffindor is the namesake most people think of, though there’s also the never-canonized “Saint” Godric of Finchale.

Edric – 39 in 2015 (U.S.); rising but volatile.  Variation of Anglo-Saxon Eadric. The element “ed” refers to wealth, so this name should mean something akin to “wealthy rule.”

Emeric – 27 in 2015; Down one from 2014, but the general trend is still upwards. Like Emery, Emeric derives from Emmerich.

Ulrich – 16 in 2015; rising. Derives from Odalric; BtN defines “odal” as an element meaning “heritage.”

Oberon / Auberon – 11 boys were named Oberon in the U.S; rising. 6 American boys were named Auberon in 2015 (debut!) and 3 in E/W.  These names are closely related to Aubrey.

Aldrich / Aldric – 9 boys named Aldrich, 8 named Aldric; both spellings are all over the place, neither up nor down continuing for many years.  “Ald” means old; Aldric = “old + power/rule.” Aldrich Killian was the antagonist in Iron Man 3.

Æthelric / Ethelric / Adalric – Means “noble power.” Who else is up for a revival of the letter “Æ?” 

Alberich – Meaning: “elf power.” If you played any of the Harry Potter video games in the early 2000s, you might remember the name Alberic Grunnion. This name also has a mythological history.

Baldric – Can mean “bold rule.” A baldric is special kind of belt.  

Leofric – This means something like “dear power.” A famous bearer is Lady Godiva’s husband, Leofric of Mercia.

Wulfric – “Wolf + power/rule.” Harry Potter fans will remember this is one of Dumbledore’s middle names (Full name: Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore)

Theodoric – Means “ruler of the people.” With Derek deriving from this, and Theodore becoming wildly popular…can we give a little love to Theodoric? Not that Theodoric is even related to Theodore

While I’ve always loved Frederick and Henry, I think my current favorite “ric” names are Wulfric, Leofric, and Godric.

Do you have a favorite “ric” name? Let me know if it’s not on the list! And which ones do you think will become more popular?      

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