Etymology & Historical Origin of the Baby Name Harry

Harry developed as a medieval English form of Henri (French form of the German Heinrich) but eventually lost favor to Henry (although remained as a diminutive of Henry). Evidence of the name’s pet form usage comes to us via William Shakespeare’s “Henry V” in which the disobedient future king is referred to as “Prince Harry” (or Hal by Falstaff). We are also familiar with the name thanks to the current-day Prince Harry (born Henry), the impish second son of Charles and Diana of Great Britain and third in line to the English throne. Adding further English currency to the name Harry is none other than the beloved Harry Potter, J.K. Rowling’s ϋber-popular magical protagonist. Harry is one of those charming pet names that has been around for centuries thanks to the popularity of Henri/Heinrich. The more traditional Henry finds its roots in the Germanic words “haim” and “rīc” which translates to “home” and “ruler, power”, respectively. Hence, the meaning of the name Henry (and thus Harry) is “Powerful Ruler of the Home”. The name originated with the French (Henri) and was brought to Britain by the Normans in the Middle Ages, although the English originally adopted the name as “Harry” at first. By the 1600s, Henry became the standard, and Harry is now thought of as the pet form. It is also sometimes considered a short form of Harold (which means “leader of the army”). Although Harry is no longer very popular in the United States, it is a Top 10 favorite in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. It is also quite popular in Ireland, Australia and Sweden.

All About the Baby Name – Harry



The number Seven personality is deeply mystical and highly in tune with their spirituality. They operate on a different wavelength than the average joe. Spending time alone comes easily to Sevens, as it gives them time to contemplate philosophical, religious and spiritual ideas in an effort to find "real truth".  Sevens are wise, but often exude mystery as if they are tapped into something the rest of us don't understand. They love the outdoors and are fed by nature. Sevens are constantly seeking to understand human nature, our place in the universe, and the mystery of life in general. This makes them quite artistic and poetic, but they are also keen observers with high intellect - so they are equally scientific-minded. Sevens are charitable and care deeply about the human condition.



Harry has long been used as an independently given name in America. Maybe not as common or popular as Henry, but he’s held his own on the charts remarkably well. Harry welcomed in the 20th century hovering around the Top 10. In fact, Harry remained a Top 100 favorite up until 1958. Harry S. Truman helped to keep the name in the American spotlight in the 1940s. From the 1960s onward, Harry began his slow and steady decline down the charts. In fact, his downwards trajectory continues on the charts despite the super popularity of the Harry Potter books and films. Henry, on the other hand, is on the upswing. We’re not quite sure why Harry lost his luster; perhaps American parents don’t like the “hairy” connotation (which is really only an American pronunciation; the English say “HAH-ree”). It’s also considered a little too “middle-aged” by today’s naming styles (at least in the U.S.). Harry is too reminiscent of Barry, Larry and Gary (other favorite names from the 1940s and 50s). It’s also the term often used to suggest one has been “harried” (harassed or pestered). Still, these issues appear to be America's problem because the name Harry remains quite popular in all other English-speaking nations. Even Hank is more popular in America today than Harry.

Quick Facts













Ruler of the home










Cultural References to the Baby Name – Harry

Literary Characters


Hermione is the spirited young girl of the famous and beloved Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowland, making her debut in the first novel, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, published in 1997. Hermione is a scholarly little girl, a fellow student at Hogwarts with Harry and Ron, to whom efficiency and dependability are second nature. Well, she’s also a rather insufferable little know-it-all who goes about memorizing textbooks and outshining her classmates. We all know what’s beneath such a veneer – right – insecurity. Hermione has it in spades, but her heartfelt love for her friends, Harry and Ron, and her own inherent goodness, further her developing character and endear her to us over the years. Young English actress Emma Watson plays her to a tee in the movie series.

Harry Potter is arguably the most famous fictional boy in history, as J. K. Rowling’s young wizard in her best selling series of books, starting in 1997 and reaching seven in number finally. Young British actor Daniel Radcliffe is inextricably identified with him due to the film series. Harry is a true modern hero, whose story includes being orphaned, being raised in an unfriendly household, and taking his place at Hogwarts. Here his real story begins - magic, wizardry, mayhem, mystery and perhaps the biggest adventure of all – coming of age in the world. Harry weathers every storm, not because he is super-human, but because he is very much human, one of us, no matter his mystic origins. Throughout the series he grows, not only physically, but in those character traits that make for a good and upstanding man. Harry retains his initial modesty and good nature, while he strives for and attains courage and moral strength. And we’re just wild about Harry!

Harry Haller is the protagonist of German author Herman Hesse’s 1927 fantasy novel, Steppenwolf (the lone wolf of the steppes). Harry is a man divided against himself; on the one hand he realizes he is part of the restrictive bourgeois culture that he scorns, and on the other, he is part wolf, unrestrained and hedonistic. He embraces his creature comforts and despises himself for doing so; he gives in to his baser instincts and follows the path of the wolf. Conflicted and frustrated, it often seems that the only true course is out – by way of one’s own hand. The mystical deus-ex-machina of the novel takes over, and Harry is led on a mysterious journey into the very nether regions of his own heart and soul. Ultimately, Harry learns to accept what is, and to accept it wholeheartedly, with both love and laughter, for that is all he has. To opt in, not out, is the most courageous act of all. A movie of the same title was made in 1974, with Max von Sydow as Harry Haller – he is close to perfect in his capturing of the nuances of this tormented, but tenacious, soul.

Ron (along with Hermione) is Harry Potter's BFF at Hogwarts. He is the typical sidekick to Harry’s celebrity and Hermione’s brains often providing comic relief. Ronald is naturally insecure and intimidated by his famous family and others in the spot-light. He is fearful of not measuring up (even though he himself is a pureblood wizard). Yet Ron is smart and brave and always there for Harry. Hero himself? No, but it’s his loyalty to his friend that allows Harry to shine even more brightly as the hero.

Luna has a "knack for embarrassing honesty" – she is as offbeat and eccentric as her name, but Harry Potter still counts her among his good friends. Although she is not particularly popular, Luna never gives into peer pressure or pretends to be something she’s not. She is funky and different, and we love her for that. She is not afraid to say what she thinks. Even her famous author, J.K. Rowling, has a soft-spot in her heart for this ‘loony’ gal.

Amelia Bones is an accomplished witch and a fair judge in the popular series by J. K. Rowling. in her role as Head of the Department of Magical Law, she presides over Harry Potter’s disciplinary hearing and is instrumental in his being cleared of all charges. She is described as “one of the greatest witches” of all time. A serious person, most of whose family members have been killed by various enemies, she herself comes to her end at the hands of the evil Lord Valdemort, but not, it is said, without putting up a heroic fight for her life.

Lily Potter is Harry's mother in J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” series of popular books. She sacrificed herself to save Harry from Voldemort; Harry can hear her screams when Dementors are near. Lily was one of the brightest students of her time, and one of the "all-time favorite students" of Horace Slughorn. Horace describes her as vivacious, charming, brave, and "very funny." Lily had a natural and intuitive ability at Potions. She was named a prefect in her fifth and sixth years at Hogwarts, and became Head Girl in her seventh year.

Childrens Books


We cannot find any childrens books with the first name Harry

Popular Songs


Harry & Rhonda
a song by Frank Zappa

I'm Just Wild about Harry
a song by Judy Garland

Harry Rag
a song by The Kinks

Harry Hood
a song by Phish

Harry Braff
a song by The Bee Gees

Harry and Joe
a song by Don Williams

a song by Macy Gray

Don't Bring Harry
a song by The Stranglers

Famous People


Harry S. Truman (U.S. President)
Prince Harry of Wales (born Henry, English royalty)
Harry Connick, Jr. (singer)
Harry Belafonte (singer)
Harry Houdini (magician)
Harry Chapin (musician)
Bing Crosby (born Harry Cosby, actor/singer)
Harry Shearer (actor and voice artist)
Harry Morgan (actor)
Harry Caray (sportscaster)
Harry Warren (composer)

Children of Famous People


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

Historic Figures


Harry S. Truman was America’s 33rd President serving between 1945 and 1953. Truman assumed the presidency after Roosevelt's death on April 12, 1945. Americans were stunned, still grieving and nervous about this man they hardly felt they knew. Truman was a farmer from Missouri, turned businessman, turned politician. He was plain-spoken, called it like he saw it, and had much common sense to make up for what he lacked in formal education. Known for his "The Buck Stops Here" sign on his desk, Truman had the courage to make politically controversial decisions. One such decision was dropping the Atomic Bomb, forcing the Japanese to surrender - a decision that was believed to have saved the lives of 500,000 to one million American troops and put a final end to the long and difficult World War II. His presidency will be remembered for the A Bomb, but also the Truman Doctrine (an ultimately unsuccessful containment policy on the spread of communism) and the Marshall Plan (U.S. participation in the reconstruction of Europe). Often overlooked, Truman also took the first bold steps toward the end of segregation. His wife "Bess" (Elizabeth) was the love of his life and they, with their only daughter Margaret, formed a close-knit family bond. Truman often referred to his wife as "the Boss" and his daughter as "the Boss's Boss".