Etymology & Historical Origin of the Baby Name Mildred

Mildred is an ancient Anglo-Saxon female personal name originally rendered as Mildþryð (meaning “gentle strength”) from the Old English components “milde” (gentle) and “þryð” (strength). The name became popularized in England around the 8th century thanks to a well known Anglo-Saxon abbess-turned-saint named Mildred. Born in the late 7th century, Mildred (or Mildþryð as she was known in Old English) was the daughter and granddaughter of Anglo-Saxon kings. Her mother was also a saint and princess from Kent, England. Saint Mildred is remembered in England as a pious woman who demonstrated particular compassion for the widows, orphans and downtrodden. She was known for her humility and “gentle strength” (apparently the name fit). Her relics are now located at St Augustine's Abbey in Canterbury and her Feast Day is May 18. Mildred remained a popular Anglo-Saxon name throughout England up until the 11th century Norman Conquest which is when it slowly fell out of favor. Mildred was popularized again in the 19th century but has once again retreated back into the shadows.

All About the Baby Name – Mildred



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.



Mildred is one of those grandmotherly names that has yet to show a revival in America (despite the trendy resurgence of “old lady” names currently coming back into fashion). The U.S. government first began tracking naming trends in the late 19th century (1880). It was back then during the late 1800s and early 1900s that Mildred was at the top of her game. The name was actually a Top 10 favorite choice for girls for almost 25 consecutive years (1903-1926). She reached the height of her popularity at position #6 on the charts during the 19-teens (beaten only by Mary, Helen, Dorothy, Margaret and Ruth). This aged name started to lose her luster by the 1950s and 60s when the name started to go into freefall down the charts. By the 1980s, Mildred became antiquated and outdated, finally falling off the female naming charts permanently in 1984. The name has yet to return to the charts. Parents today picture Mildred in a rocking chair or with a “life-alert” necklace so associated with great-grandmothers is she. Yet at the same time, Mildred carries with her a certain “gentle strength” and vintage charm that is hard to replicate. There’s no doubt about it. Mildred is super-duper old-fashioned and plain “un-cool” by today’s modern naming standards (just like Gertrude, Florence and Gladys). Although we agree that Mildred is indeed an out-dated name, we still think the name has a certain quirkiness, not to mention that Millie is a darling nickname. Don’t underestimate the quiet “gentle strength” of this old lady!

Quick Facts













Gentle strength




Highly Intuitive

Spiritual Teacher

Extremely Bright



Cultural References to the Baby Name – Mildred

Literary Characters


Mildred Rogers is the object of Philip Carey’s obsessive love in W. Somerset Maugham’s 1915 novel, Of Human Bondage. This Mildred is so very unlikeable that we are hard put to understand Philip’s overwhelming attraction to her - but that is the nature of obsession – it does not adhere to ordinary rules of conduct. Mildred is a shrill and self-absorbed waitress from the lower class, who comes to dominate the poor, unfortunate, clubfooted medical student. Mildred agrees to move in with him, although she does not love him and is, in fact, pregnant with another man’s child. This doesn’t stop Philip, who is prepared to marry her and adopt the child. Mildred repays this offer by running off with Philip’s friend. Many machinations later, Mildred is reduced to prostitution, her child has died, and she is ready for Philip’s help again. By this time, our hero has had enough and spurns her as a lover, therefore she trashes his living quarters and moves on. On to a horrid death by you-know-what-disease, perhaps the only allowable outcome in 1915. Wow. Bette Davis’ portrayal of her in the 1934 movie made her a star, but it is said that Maugham’s favorite Mildred was played by Kim Novak in the 1964 adaptation, which evoked a gentler version of this memorable character.

Mildred – aka Nurse Ratched – is the very memorable nurse in Ken Kesey’s 1962 novel, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, even more memorably portrayed by Louise Fletcher in the 1975 movie of the same name, for which she won the Academy Award. Mildred is the head nurse at the state mental hospital who wields enormous power over her disturbed charges, calmly and serenely bullying them into taking medications, attending group sessions, and ordering electroshock treatments and lobotomies, even causing suicides, with terrifying aplomb. She is so graciously mean, so authoritatively sadistic, and so serenely righteous, that she defies any and all attempts to have it any other way but hers. So supremely evil is she that the American Film Institute named her the fifth greatest villain in film history – no small honor, that!

Mildred Pierce is the protagonist of James Cain’s novel of the same name, published in 1941. It was also made into a 1945 Oscar-winning movie starring Joan Crawford, as well as an Emmy-winning miniseries in 2011, starring Kate Winslet. Mildred is a one-of-a kind woman – tough as nails, but also soft at the core, especially when it comes to her duplicitous daughter, Veda. Caught in economic straits as a divorced mother of two, Mildred works her way up from waitressing to owning her own successful restaurants, all the while shelling out the dough so Veda can have all the advantages. Veda takes the money, of course, but scorns the type of work that makes it possible. All that Mildred does is done for Veda, and as may be expected, she is treated thanklessly by her ungrateful daughter. The plot throws some devastating missiles at Mildred, and we are left with a great deal of admiration for this determined and resourceful woman, who always seems to rise to the occasion.

Mildred is the wife of the protagonist, Guy Montag, in Ray Bradbury’s 1953 sci-fi classic, Fahrenheit 451, which was also made into a film in 1966, with Julie Christie playing both her and Montag’s young love interest, Clarisse. Oh dear, it is rather difficult to find a saving grace in this character. Happily falling in line with the dystopian society that forbids reading and learning, Mildred is addicted to her television walls, disinterested in anything her husband might suggest, self-absorbed and vacuous. In the final analysis, she even betrays Montag, turning him in to the authorities for the crime of hiding books. Perhaps, though, all this masks a truly unhappy, questioning woman underneath it all, for the first time we meet her, she has attempted suicide. This is not the act of a satisfied woman, so we may assume that the status quo is as devastating to her as it is to her husband and Clarisse.

Childrens Books


We cannot find any childrens books with the first name Mildred

Popular Songs


Mildred Pierce
a song by Sonic Youth

Famous People


Mildred Augustine Wirt Benson (writer of the Nancy Drew mystery novels under the pseudonym Carolyn Keene)
Mildred Ella Didrikson Zaharias (aka Babe Didrikson, athlete)
Mildred Burke (female wrestler)
Mildred Cohn (scientist)
Mildred Robbins Leet (philanthropist)
Mildred Harris (actress)
Mildred Bailey (jazz singer)

Children of Famous People


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

Historic Figures


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