Etymology & Historical Origin of the Baby Name Bridget

Bridget is arguably the most successful female name of all time within Celtic communities. The name is related to the Celtic noun “brígh” meaning ‘power, strength, vigor and virtue’. There are compelling reasons for the popularity of the name Bridget most notably among the Irish people. In Irish mythology, Brighid was an important pagan deity foremost associated with fire: the fire of inspiration and poetry; of healing and fertility; and of blacksmith and martial arts. She was born at the hours of dawn and lit up the sky with her fiery flames. She was the daughter of Dagda, the all-powerful “father god” and protector of the tribe, and she was the wife of Bres, man-god of agriculture. Her name means “exalted one” or “the high goddess” from the Celtic word “breed”. In some legends, Brighid is said to have forged Excalibur (King Arthur’s sword) due to her fiery smithcraft skills. Brighid and Bres came from two warring tribes in Ireland. They hoped their union would put an end to the bad blood that existed between the clans. Together they had three warrior sons, one of whom (Ruadan) was killed on the battlefield. This event sent Brighid into such deep morning and acute lament – her grief was enormous. Her keening and heart rendering howls were said to have been heard throughout Ireland which effected unity among the Celts. Later, as Christianity mixed with the ancient paganism of the Gaelic Celts, Brighid became known as Muime Chriosd, "Foster-Mother of Christ" and was said to have swaddled the baby Jesus at Mary’s hour of weakness. By medieval times, praying to Brighid brought protection and she was said to have leaned over every cradle watching over newborn babies. The legends and lore of this illustrious goddess continue to this day and is perhaps the most well-known of all Gaelic deities. This lovely “Flame of Ireland” will forever burn brightly. Eventually, as Christianity took over Ireland, the goddess Brighid was fused with and adapted into the cult of Saint Brigit. The 4th and 5th century Saint Brigit is one of Ireland’s patron saints and probably second in popularity among the Irish people after St. Patrick. Indeed, she is one of the most powerful religious figures in Irish history. Her parents were baptized by St. Patrick himself and she formed a close bond with this important Irish character. The pious Saint Brigit was drawn into religious life early and “took the veil” (i.e. became a nun) in her youth. She is known for her extraordinary spirituality, boundless generosity to the poor and deep compassion for those in distress. At the age of 17, Brigit became the first Irish Abbess of a convent she herself founded in Kildare. Her clean living obviously had an impact on her longevity as St. Brigit died in Kildare on February 1, 524 past the age of 70. In the 9th century amidst Scandinavian raids in Ireland, St. Brigit’s relics were purportedly taken to the tomb of St. Patrick where they remain alongside her fellow Irish patron saint. Given the pagan goddess and the Christian St. Brigit’s enduring importance in Ireland, it’s no surprise that the name has come to us in many forms: Bríd, Brighid, Brigid, Brigit, Breda, Bride (Irish); Bridget, Bridgette (English); Brigitte (French); Brigitta, Brigitte, Gitta, Gitte (German); Birgit, Brigitta, Brita, Britt, Gittan (Scandinavian); and Brígida (Spanish and Portuguese). Diminutives of this name include Biddy, Bridey and Bee.

All About the Baby Name – Bridget

Personality

OF THE GIRL NAME BRIDGET

The number 11 is a Master Number, and embodies heightened traits of the Two. This personality is on a life journey to find spiritual truth. They are extremely idealistic and intuitive. Elevens have a rare and exceptional spiritual energy that brings a sense of obligation to illuminate the world around them. It's a very powerful responsibility, but these people have far more potential than they know. It's important that they surrender to higher ideals. They have the capacity to see the bigger picture, and they possess the skills to inspire others spiritually. Elevens have strong diplomatic skills and can become great peacemakers. Master numbers can be both a blessing and a curse, as they walk the fine line between greatness and the potential for self-destruction.

Popularity

OF THE GIRL NAME BRIDGET

Not surprisingly, given the influence of the Irish in America, Bridget has maintained a spot on the female naming charts since the government first began tracking this information back in 1880. The name pretty much experienced low to moderate usage in the first half of the 20th century – mainly isolated to Irish immigrants relegated to domestic work and maid service. Her growth in popularity in the latter half of the 20th century was slow and deliberate. The high point of Bridget’s success was definitely during the 1970s, at which time she almost managed to achieve a spot on the Top 100 (she hit #112 in 1973). This name often shows up on the rolls in the state of Massachusetts where (not coincidentally) there exists the largest per capita population of Irish Americans. Like Erin, Caitlín, Ciara, Colleen, Sinéad or Siobhan – Bridget is a distinctively Irish female name. Although there is clearly crossover appeal and versions of this name exist in many different languages, Bridget is probably a name most appealing for parents of Irish descent – and proud of it! In fact, Bridget became a generic term for a woman from Ireland so connected is she to her Irish roots. Not only does Bridget mean “exalted one”, but she is a figure of much respect among Irish people adding evidence to her meaning. One of the most famous French actresses of the 1960s, Brigitte Bardot, added a dose of gorgeous sex-kitten to this name. One part saint, two parts sexy and three parts goddess. Is your baby girl a “high goddess”? We have no doubt that you believe so. We say go ahead – Embrace that inner Irish goddess!

Quick Facts

ON BRIDGET

GENDER:

Girl

ORIGIN:

Celtic

NUMBER OF SYLLABLES:

2

RANKING POPULARITY:

523

PRONUNCIATION:

BRIJ-ət

SIMPLE MEANING:

Exalted one; The High Goddess

Characteristics

OF BRIDGET

Inspirational

Highly Intuitive

Spiritual Teacher

Extremely Bright

Uplifting

Truth-seeker

Cultural References to the Baby Name – Bridget

Literary Characters

OF THE BABY NAME BRIDGET

Mark Darcy is a character in the Bridget Jones series, created by British author Helen Fielding initially as a newspaper column in the 1990s. He is a barrister (the veddy British term for lawyer) who is one of the men in Bridget’s life. In the screen adaptations, he is played by Colin Firth, famous for playing another “Mr. Darcy”. A rather stuffy example of a certain upper class male, he shares more than his name with his literary counterpart, being quite handsome, well-moneyed and, it must be said, rather supercilious. As the series (not the movie) ended, Bridget is a new mother (but not by Mr. Darcy) and considering Mr. Darcy’s proposal to adopt the child. So, in addition to his other qualities, he is philanthropic as well!

We cannot find any significant literary characters by the name of Bridget

Popular Songs

ON BRIDGET

Bridget O'Malley
an Irish song by Silly Wizard

Famous People

NAMED BRIDGET

Bridget Fonda (actress)
Bridget Hall (model)
Bridget Moynahan (actress)
Bridget Marquardt (reality TV)
Brigitte Bardot (French actress)

Children of Famous People

NAMED BRIDGET

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

Historic Figures

WITH THE NAME BRIDGET

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