Etymology & Historical Origin of the Baby Name Leonard

Léonard is an Old French name of Germanic origins from the elements “leon” meaning “lion” and “hard” meaning “brave, hardy”. The name was popularized in medieval Europe thanks to a 5th century Frankish saint, Léonard of Noblac, whose cult and legends rapidly spread during the Middle Ages. In an area of ancient France (before France was France but rather a province of Gaul), Léonard of Noblac was a nobleman who converted to Christianity. He was known for freeing prisoners he found worthy of God and bringing them to his forest dwelling to work an honest life. According to legend, prisoners would watch their chains break before their eyes upon invoking Saint Léonard. They would often bring these broken chains to Saint Léonard’s resting place in homage to their idol. Not surprisingly, the “second-chance” giving Saint Léonard became one of the most venerated saints of the Middle Ages; he is the patron saint to prisoners, captives and slaves. The Norman-French brought the name Leonard to England after the Norman Conquest of 1066; although it did not become common until the 19th century among English-speakers. Today Leonard is most popular in Liechtenstein, Germany, Sweden and France.

All About the Baby Name – Leonard



Romance is the hallmark of the Six personality. They exude nurturing, loving, and caring energy. Sixes are in love with the idea of love in its idealized form - and with their magnetic personalities, they easily draw people toward them. Like the number Two personality, they seek balance and harmony in their life and the world at large. They are conscientious and service-oriented, and a champion for the underdog. These personalities naturally attract money and are usually surrounded by lovely material objects - but their human relationships are always primary. They thrive in giving back to others rather than being motivated by their own desires. This is when they achieve great things. Sixes are natural teachers, ministers and counselors.



United States data on naming trends only goes as far back as 1880, but we can tell you this: Leonard was already a Top 100 favorite boy’s name in the late 19th century. In fact, Leonard maintained his Top 100 position up until 1958, having experienced the height of popular usage during the 1920s. The 1960s marked the beginning of the end for this old “brave lion”. For the past 50 years Leonard has been on a slow and steady decline down the charts. American parents are opting for the Italian Leonardo with far more frequency these days. The four-syllable Leonardo is a guilty pleasure compared to the boring old two-syllable Leonard. Still, Leonard retains his old-fashioned charm in our opinion and Leo and Leon are both possible nicknames. We wouldn’t be surprised if “lionhearted” Leonard is due for a revival soon – and it’s certainly suitable name for any baby boy born under the sun sign Leo. Or a possible favorite for old-school Star Trek fans (Leonard Nimoy who portrayed the iconic human-Vulcan character Spock or Leonard McCoy, the starship Enterprise’s chief medical officer). We put Leonard in our “he’s-so-uncool-that-he’s-cool” category.

Quick Facts













Brave lion; lionhearted










Cultural References to the Baby Name – Leonard

Literary Characters


Leonard Bast is a character in E. M. Forster’s classic 1910 novel, Howards End. Poor Leonard – he can’t catch a break, as they say. Born and raised at the lower end of the middle class, Leonard longs for culture and education, while toiling along as a lowly clerk. On the home front, he doesn’t do much better, being married to a former prostitute, a situation that bodes ill for improving one’s social standing. When Leonard meets the Schlegel sisters, he is delighted with their company, and even follows their advice regarding his employment, with disastrous results. Even more disastrous is his dalliance with the younger sister, Helen, which results in her pregnancy, unknown to him. Some time later, Leonard appears at the Wilcox family estate, Howards End, to seek information about Helen from her sister, Margaret. He is guilt-ridden and apologetic, subsisting now on handouts and only continuing in his wretched existence in order to provide for his wife. Because of a misunderstanding on his part, Charles Wilcox attacks Leonard, resulting in an accident that leads to Leonard’s fatal heart attack. It is our hope that somewhere in the hereafter, poor Leonard will learn that Charles Wilcox went to jail and that Leonard’s own child by Helen will inherit Howards End. That might make up for some of the indignities he suffered.

The revered New York Times bestselling author, recognized as “America’s greatest crime writer” (Newsweek), brings back U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens, the mesmerizing hero of Pronto, Riding the Rap, and the hit FX series Justified. With the closing of the Harlan County, Kentucky, coal mines, marijuana has become the biggest cash crop in the state. A hundred pounds of it can gross $300,000, but that’s chump change compared to the quarter million a human body can get you—especially when it’s sold off piece by piece. So when Dickie and Coover Crowe, dope-dealing brothers known for sampling their own supply, decide to branch out into the body business, it’s up to U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens to stop them. But Raylan isn’t your average marshal; he’s the laconic, Stetson-wearing, fast-drawing lawman who juggles dozens of cases at a time and always shoots to kill. But by the time Raylan finds out who’s making the cuts, he’s lying naked in a bathtub, with Layla, the cool transplant nurse, about to go for his kidneys. The bad guys are mostly gals this time around: Layla, the nurse who collects kidneys and sells them for ten grand a piece; Carol Conlan, a hard-charging coal-mine executive not above ordering a cohort to shoot point-blank a man who’s standing in her way; and Jackie Nevada, a beautiful sometime college student who can outplay anyone at the poker table and who suddenly finds herself being tracked by a handsome U.S. marshal. Dark and droll, Raylan is pure Elmore Leonard—a page-turner filled with the sparkling dialogue and sly suspense that are the hallmarks of this modern master.

Ruth Leonard is a character in John Updike’s acclaimed 1960 novel, Rabbit, Run, first of the four novels featuring his protagonist, Harry “Rabbit” Angstrom. Ruth is an atheistic, humorous, part-time prostitute who becomes Rabbit’s lover and is impregnated by him, only to be casually dumped as he returns to his own pregnant wife. Not a good time in the history of womankind to be a single mother, a prostitute, an atheist – any of the above. Ruth, however, decides to forge ahead with her pregnancy on her own, and tells the groveling Rabbit to get lost unless he wants to commit to her. For this she earns our undying regard.

Childrens Books


We cannot find any childrens books with the first name Leonard

Popular Songs


a song by Merle Haggard

Famous People


Leonard Bernstein (composer)
Leonard Nimoy (actor)
Leonard Maltin (film critic)
Leonard Cohen (Canadian singer/poet/writer)
Léonard (hairdresser to Marie Antoinette)
Leonard (various saints)

Children of Famous People


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

Historic Figures


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