Etymology & Historical Origin of the Baby Name Ernest

Ernest was adopted by the English from the Old French (Frankish)language. In Old High German, the vocabulary word “eornost” meant "serious business, battle to the death”. Today the English vocabulary word “earnest” still means “serious, intense, sober”. Ernest was one of many given names brought to England by the Norman French in the 11th century, but it was not widely used until the early 18th century when King George I came to the English throne (hailing from the German House of Hanover). Irish playwright and humorist Oscar Wilde famously used the name for his protagonist in the 19th century play “The Importance of Being Earnest” (1895) aptly subtitled ‘A Trivial Comedy for Serious People’ (see literary references below). Ernest is also strongly associated with the hard-drinking, adventurous-living and Nobel Prize-winning American author Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961).

All About the Baby Name – Ernest

Personality

OF THE BOY NAME ERNEST

The number Nine personality represents the completion or ending of the cycle, and a need for perfection. This is the personality that moves from "self" to a greater understanding and compassion for the human condition and the world order. They want to make the world a better place. Nines are capable of great spiritual and humanitarian achievements. They are courageous and fearless, able to fight great battles on behalf of worthy causes. These personalities will not tolerate injustice. They are compassionate people with a strong sensitivity to others. They are able to both educate and inspire. Friendships and relationships are the lifeblood to the Nine, and they place a high value on love and affection. Nines are often exceptionally gifted artistically, and they have a keen imagination and enterprising mind.

Popularity

OF THE BOY NAME ERNEST

Ernest is an example of a true turn-of-the-century favorite – the turn of last century that is. In other words, Ernest was the 30th most popular boy’s name in America in 1900. In the late 1800s Ernest got as high as #21 on the charts. It wouldn’t be until 1957 that the name dropped off the Top 100 list for the first time since the U.S. government began tracking naming trends in 1880. In the 1960s, 70s and 80s, Ernest’s decline in popular usage was so slow and steady it was hardly noticeable. It wasn’t until the 1990s that future parents really began shunning old Ernest. No longer a “serious” contender on the American male naming charts, Ernest has become a name choice for the very traditional parent. It’s old-fashioned, outdated and really…well, really quite earnest. It may take another generation to clean off the cobwebs and hope for a comeback, but in the meantime we applaud the parents brave enough to pick such a grandfatherly name. Ernie is an obvious nickname.

Quick Facts

ON ERNEST

GENDER:

Boy

ORIGIN:

English

NUMBER OF SYLLABLES:

2

RANKING POPULARITY:

933

PRONUNCIATION:

ER-nehst

SIMPLE MEANING:

Serious

Characteristics

OF ERNEST

Multi-talented

Intuitive

Oneness

Idealistic

Philanthropy

Independent

Perfection

Cultural References to the Baby Name – Ernest

Literary Characters

OF THE BABY NAME ERNEST

Ernest is the protagonist of Oscar Wilde’s comedy of manners, “The Importance of Being Earnest, A Trivial Comedy for Serious People”, which was first performed in London in 1895, and probably remains his most popular play. John (Jack) Worthing maintains an alter-ego in London in the persona of Ernest, his make-believe younger brother, whose foibles he is constantly called upon to remedy. In the country he is known as a sober and conservative gentleman, whereas in the disguise of Ernest in London he is able to follow a rather libertine lifestyle. As Ernest, he proposes to Gwendolen, who accepts him, mainly based upon the fact that his name is Ernest; she has stated that she must marry a man named Ernest. Of course. Lady Bracknell, Gwendolen’s harridan of a mother, does not approve of the match, however, as Mr. Worthington, whatever his true name, was a foundling. Many plot twists and identity switches later, it is discovered that Worthington is in fact a relative of Lady Bracknell, having been lost in a train station as an infant by his nursemaid. This suddenly makes him suitable as a suitor for Gwendolen. That young lady, however, does not want to marry him now because his name is not Ernest, but Jack. Of course. But not to worry – army records of Jack’s father are examined and prove him to have been one Ernest Moncrieff, for whom, as first born, Jack would have been named. So he is Ernest, after all, and that is important, because otherwise, Gwendolen wouldn’t have married him. So now you know the importance of being earnest.

Popular Songs

ON ERNEST

We cannot find any popular or well-known songs with the name of Ernest


Famous People

NAMED ERNEST

Ernest Hemingway (American writer)
Ernest Borgnine (actor)
Ernest Tubb (country musician)

Children of Famous People

NAMED ERNEST

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

Historic Figures

WITH THE NAME ERNEST

Ernest Hemingway was one of the most influential writers of the twentieth century, and won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1954. Born in Illinois, Ernest served as an ambulance driver in World War I, where he was seriously wounded. This experience produced his novel, A Farewell to Arms. During the 1920s, Ernest was a fixture in Paris’ “Lost Generation” expatriate community, where he was a friend and protégée of Gertrude Stein. During this time, The Sun Also Rises, his first novel, was published. Throughout the thirties and forties, Ernest was a journalist in the Spanish Civil War, as well as reporting on the invasion of Normandy and the liberation of Paris. Ernest Hemingway was renowned for his “macho” style, personal as well as literary, elevating such sports as safaris, bull-righting, deep-sea fishing and hard drinking to iconic levels by his participation in and admiration of them. In later years in the United States, Ernest spent a good deal of time in Key West, Florida, with trips to Cuba, and finally ended his days in Ketchum, Idaho by a self-inflicted bullet wound. Married four times, Ernest was the father of three sons, as well as the grandfather of the actresses Margaux and Mariel Hemingway.