- From an ancient Greek term meaning “farmer,” from ge meaning earth or soil, and ergon meaning work.
- In medieval legend, St George (the knight who became the patron saint of England) fought with a fire-breathing dragon symbolizing the devil
- Variations include Georgios (Greek), Georges (French), Jorge (Spanish), Giorgio, Georg, Göran, Jörg, Jörgen, Jurij
- Feminine versions include Georgetta, Georgette, Georgeanne, Georgeanna, Georgene, Georgia, Jorja, Georgiana, and Georgina
- Nicknames include Georgie, Georgy, Geordie, Jojo
- Famous for actor George Clooney, first US President George Washington, singer George Michael (who was born with the first name Georgios), inventor George Washington Carver
- Boxer George Foreman named his five sons after him — George Jr., George III (“Monk”), George IV (“Big Wheel”), George V (“Red”), and George VI (“Little Joey”)
More history of the name George
Though one of the most usual first names in England today, and almost as popular in the United States, George was almost never used as a first name before 1700.
It was not until the ascendancy of the house of Brunswick, that introduced George I, George II, George III, and eventually George IV to England that the name was ever thought of a suitable first name.
This may seem remarkable since St. George, who contended with and slew the dragon and delivered the church, was early popular in English.
He was chosen as the patron saint of Crusaders returning from the east to England, and for many years after the time of Richard Coeur de Lion, “St. George for Merrie England,” was one of the favorite battle cries of kings and soldiers.
But for some reason, George was not often thought of as a first name in England. There was one family, that of Drummond, who used the name in Scotland from generation to generation. George as a family name is not more usual than it is, since most family names were assumed previous to 1700 when the name became current as a first name.
That there were any last names of George at all is to be remarked. But these surnames did not rise from a first name as is the case in such family names as Williams, Jones, etc., but from sign names. The figure of St. George contending with the dragon was a usual enough sign for shop and tavern in the days when men put up signs over their doors instead of their names. Thus undoubtedly the first to take George as a surname was one who carried on a trade beneath the sign of St. George.