Etymology & Historical Origin of the Baby Name Gwendolyn

Gwendolyn is a Celtic-derived name primarily used in Wales, Cornwall and Brittany. The name comes from the Bythonic branch of the Celtic languages (as opposed to the Gaelic), from the words “gwyn” meaning ‘fair, holy, pure’ and “dolyn” meaning either ‘ring’ or ‘brow, hair’. Queen Gwendolyn was a fictionalized queen and warrior woman of ancient Briton, immortalized by Geoffrey of Monmouth in the Middle Ages (the same Welsh cleric who popularized the tales of King Arthur). After her husband, King Locrinus, leaves her for a German Princess, Gwendolyn built up an army in Cornwall and defeated her unfaithful husband. She then goes onto rule herself (peacefully) until she abdicates in favor of her son. Saint Gwen is a 6th century saint; a Breton woman who was supposedly given a third breast from God as a gift for her fruitfulness (ability to reproduce). This is obviously folklore, but Saint Gwen is invoked for women's fertility.

All About the Baby Name – Gwendolyn

Personality

OF THE GIRL NAME GWENDOLYN

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 GWENDOLYN

Given the Gwendolyn’s tight geographic origin (i.e., Wales, Cornwall and Brittany), it’s impressive that the name has not only sustained in usage, but that it has successfully spread to other English-speaking countries. In the United States, Gwendolyn has been in use at least since the Social Security Administration began tracking naming trends in 1880. Apparently, however, Gwendolyn’s popularity in the United States has come and gone. The 1950s was definitely Gwendolyn’s best decade in America, almost reaching a Top 100 spot, but not quite. Today, the name is barely bestowed on 500 little girls each year. Lucky for them; they don’t have to share such a beautiful name with too many other people! Gwendolyn is so under-used that it still feels completely aligned with its original Welsh heritage. For instance, look at how the old Irish-Celtic Caitlín got so over-used and Americanized to the point of losing its “Irishness”. Gwendolyn is still pure to her roots, and the pet forms (Gwen, Gwenie) provide one and two-syllable options that lighten the name.

Quick Facts

ON GWENDOLYN

GENDER:

Girl

ORIGIN:

Celtic

NUMBER OF SYLLABLES:

3

RANKING POPULARITY:

472

PRONUNCIATION:

GWEHN-de-lin

SIMPLE MEANING:

Fair-browed, Holy ring

Characteristics

OF GWENDOLYN

Inspirational

Highly Intuitive

Spiritual Teacher

Extremely Bright

Uplifting

Truth-seeker

Cultural References to the Baby Name – Gwendolyn

Literary Characters

OF THE BABY NAME GWENDOLYN

Popular Songs

ON GWENDOLYN

Gwendolyn
a song by The Badlees

Famous People

NAMED GWENDOLYN

Gwendolyn "Gwen" Stefani (musician)
Gwendolyn Brooks (poet)

Children of Famous People

NAMED GWENDOLYN

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

Historic Figures

WITH THE NAME GWENDOLYN

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