Etymology & Historical Origin of the Baby Name August

August is the German, Polish and Scandinavian form of Augustus which is a Latin name from the adjective “augustus” meaning ‘great, magnificent’. This adjective in turn comes from the Latin verb “augere” meaning ‘to increase’. Most notably, the title Augustus (‘majestic’) was given to Octavian (the adopted-son of Julius Caesar) who was the first Emperor of the Roman Empire in the Second Triumvirate (following the Roman Republic). Emperor Augustus emerged as the victor after more than a century of turmoil; he defeated Antony and Cleopatra and ruled alone from 27 BC to 14 AD laying the foundation for the Roman Empire’s golden age. From that point on, all subsequent Emperors of Rome fancied themselves “Augustus”. August is also the eighth month of the calendar year, originally called Sextillus (so named in the 8th century BC when the Roman calendar was only ten months and Sextillus (sex=six) was the sixth month). Just as the Roman Senate had named a month (July) after Julius Caesar, they also decided to name a month after his grandnephew and adopted-son Augustus. That’s how August became named August; the month was chosen because it was the month which had been “so fortunate to this empire” (it was the month under Augustus when Egypt came under the empire’s control and the month when civil wars ended). The month was lengthened from 30 days to 31 days so no claim could be made that Augustus got shortchanged with an inferior month. Augustus, Augusta and August are all names that English-speaking countries have used since the 18th century. August (pronounced OW-guwst) is mainly used in Scandinavia, Germany and Poland. The name currently ranks high the countries of Denmark and Sweden.

All About the Baby Name – August



The number Eight personality has everything to do with power, wealth and abundance. Somehow, this personality has been blessed on the material plane, but their authoritative and problem-solving traits provide evidence that their good fortunes are not just the luck of the lottery. They are well earned. This is the personality of CEOs and high-ranking military personnel. Eights are intensely active, hard-driving individuals. Success is only meaningful to them after a job well-done.  They are remarkable in their ability to see the larger picture right down to the smallest details, and organize a strategy around success. They then have the ability to direct a group around them toward any goal, and realize individual potential to get the most out of their team.



August has done relatively well in the United States considering it’s not your typical, traditional name. In the late 19th century, the name was a Top 100 favorite among American parents. However, as the 20th century got underway, August was on a steady decline. By the 1980s, the name came dangerously close to dropping off the male naming charts altogether. The 21st century has been a little bit better to the name August. It has gained over 200 positions on the charts since the year 2000 and now the name is back up to more low-moderate levels of success. August is interesting; it’s the only month we use on little boys (while April, May and June are used for girls). And who doesn’t love the month of August? It’s smack dab in the middle of summer when everyone’s in a good mood and outdoors in the blazing sunshine. There will always be a good-vibe thing about August, and it certainly doesn’t hurt that the name means ‘magnificent, great’. His only competition may be Maximus (which means ‘greatest’). Possible pet forms of August are Gus and Augie. Makes us think of the free-wheeling Augie March, a character created by Nobel Prize winning author Saul Bellow. Many people think of August as a girl’s name. We have two things to say about that: one, August has never managed to gain a spot on the American female naming charts which means less than 50 baby girls get this name per year (if even that) whereas tens of thousands of baby boys have been called August over the years. And, two, August is very masculine – both from an etymological and sound perspective. It’s not to say you can’t name your daughters this ‘magnificent’ name, it’s just that parents rarely really do (although Garth Brooks did).

Quick Facts











AW-gust or OW-guwst


Great, magnificent










Cultural References to the Baby Name – August

Literary Characters


Byron Bunch is a character in William Faulkner’s 1932 novel, Light in August. He is a good and honest man, but he lives a life of guarded isolation, working at the mill six days a week and directing the choir on Sundays. His life is virtuous, but only because he does not allow himself any entanglement with the outside world. Then the pregnant Lena Grove happens into his life and turns it upside down. Suddenly Byron is in love, but good fellow that he is, he steps aside as she tries to bring the father of her child (now calling himself “Joe Brown”) back into her life. Now, however, Byron is beyond the protection of self-denial, and he becomes more and more attached to Lena. At the same time, his friendship with the defrocked minister, Hightower, is proving to be more fertile ground for personal expansion and growth, as Hightower probes into Byron’s desires and their associated motivations. Slowly it begins to dawn on Byron that the price of an engaged life will be high, but its rewards are even higher. He is tested when he is forced to fight Joe Brown, and, while he is trounced by the larger man, he passes his test with flying colors. He has reached out to another human being, he has connected, he has assumed the responsibilities of the committed life, and he is much the better man for it.

Lena Grove is a pivotal character in William Faulkner’s 1932 novel, Light in August. She is a pregnant woman who is searching for the father of her unborn child, who has moved to another state, promising to send for her. Young and naïve, Lena is nonetheless a brave and determined woman who is trying to do right by her child and provide the structure of a family for him. Lena faces all the hardships and challenges that life sends her way in an unflinching and stoic manner, yet she does not despair. She simply soldiers on, fixed on the pursuit of her goals against all odds. The baby’s father is hardly worthy of her efforts – he is a lazy con artist who cravenly runs away instead of facing his responsibilities. Lena gives birth to her baby son in an old, rural cabin and continues on with her search undaunted. She is such a force of life herself, one can rest assured that her baby will not really need his worthless father, when he has such a mother.

William Faulkner’s “Light in August” (published in 1932) is a story of outcasts in the racially charged South, and Joanna Burden is one of them. The “burden” she must carry (hence her last name) is being born into a family of white abolitionists – and this makes her quite unpopular in a town not too keen on equality. Only, her reasoning for advancing the Black people within white society is a bit unorthodox. As she herself says, she saw black people “not as people, but as a thing, a shadow in which I lived, we lived, all white people, all other people. I thought of all the children coming forever and ever into the world, white, with the black shadow already falling upon them before they draw breath.” In other words, she believed blacks reflected the sins of white man, and “…in order to rise, you must raise the shadow with you.” Not exactly the most honorable of motives, but her social views are progressive nonetheless.

Childrens Books


We cannot find any childrens books with the first name August

Popular Songs


August In Bethany
a song by The Juliana Theory

Famous People


August Strindberg (Swedish writer and painter)
August Coppola (academic, father of Nicolas Cage)
August Wilson (American playwright)
August (pornographic actress)

Children of Famous People


We cannot find any children of famous people with the first name August

Historic Figures


We cannot find any historically significant people with the first name August