Etymology & Historical Origin of the Baby Name Nicholas

The name Nicholas is the anglicized spelling of the Greek name “Nikolaos” which is derived from “nikē” (victory) and “laos” (people) and so means “people of victory”. The “-ch” spelling first appeared in the 12th century and became firmly embedded by the 16th century. The enduring popularity of this name is owed to one person and one person only, St. Nicholas. The name became widespread throughout Europe in the Middle Ages due to the cults and legends surrounding this famous 4th century saint. Particularly recognized in the Eastern Orthodox Church, St. Nicholas was the Bishop of Myra in Asia Minor (present day Turkey) who lived between 270 and 343 A.D. He was known for his religious zeal and extraordinary kindness. Although little is factually known, as with many early saints, Nicholas’s legends grew and he became one of the most beloved saints ever. His piety was exemplified, for instance, in the story of a poor man who, without dowry for his three daughters, was preparing to give them over to prostitution. On three different occasions, each while disguised by the darkness of night, St. Nicholas threw a bag of gold through a window and into the man’s house (three bags of gold for each of the three daughter’s necessary dowries so they could be married and saved from prostitution). St. Nicholas’s cult arguably had the largest following of any other saint between both Eastern and Western Europe in medieval times; it is said artists were inspired by his image second only to the Blessed Mother. In the East, Nicholas was invoked by sailors for safe travels (“May St. Nicholas hold the tiller.”). In the West, Nicholas was believed to watch over children (stemming from a legend that he resurrected three small children from the dead after they were killed for food during a famine). St. Nicholas was also the inspiration behind the Dutch figure of “Sinterklaas”, a magician-like character who left gifts for children around St. Nicholas’s Feast Day (December 6), in honor of the saint’s reputation for secret gift-giving and for his patronage of children. The early Dutch settlers of New Amsterdam (America) brought this concept to the New World colonies. The relics of St. Nicholas are housed at Basilica di San Nicola in Bari, Italy, a place of pilgrimage for centuries. Obviously it’s clear that St. Nicholas was/is one of the most beloved and venerated saints ever. It is for this reason that the name persisted in usage for over 1,700 years! Right now the English spelling of Nicholas is most popular in Australia, Canada and the United States.

All About the Baby Name – Nicholas

Personality

OF THE BOY NAME NICHOLAS

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 NICHOLAS

Nicholas has consistently enjoyed high rankings on the American popularity charts for over a century, but the name really started to shine in the 1990’s – reaching its highest point of success in 1999 at position #5. Since then, the name has slowly slipped lower down the Top 50 list but is still a widely used name for baby boys. Probably due to his association with Santa Claus (or St. Nick), Nicholas has a friendly, approachable and cheerful sound to it. The names Nick and Nico are considered pet forms of Nicholas and have become popular alternatives in their own right. Still, the rolling three-syllable sound of Nicholas adds more dimension and has always been the most preferred version of the name in the United States. Essentially a risk-free choice, Nicholas can claim his “victory” now and forever.

Quick Facts

ON NICHOLAS

GENDER:

Boy

ORIGIN:

English

NUMBER OF SYLLABLES:

3

RANKING POPULARITY:

54

PRONUNCIATION:

NIK-ә-lis

SIMPLE MEANING:

People of victory

Characteristics

OF NICHOLAS

Multi-talented

Intuitive

Oneness

Idealistic

Philanthropy

Independent

Perfection

Cultural References to the Baby Name – Nicholas

Literary Characters

OF THE BABY NAME NICHOLAS

Nicholas Nickleby is the hero and title character of Charles Dickens 1838 novel. In the preface to his novel, Dickens writes: "There is only one other point, on which I would desire to offer a remark. If Nicholas be not always found to be blameless or agreeable, he is not always intended to appear so. He is a young man of an impetuous temper and of little or no experience; and I saw no reason why such a hero should be lifted out of nature." Nicholas is a young man, born to a poor family in Victorian society, who is forced to support his mother and sister after his father dies. Nicholas the hero confronts a large and varied cast of characters as we follow him on his comical and satirical adventures. Punishing wickedness, befriending the helpless, strutting the stage, and falling in love, Nicholas shares some of Dickens’ energy and earnestness as he faces the pressing issues of early Victorian society.

Kate is the put-upon younger sister of Nicholas Nickleby in Charles Dickens’ 1838/39 third (serialized) novel of the same name, Nicholas Nickleby, or the Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby. After their father dies, leaving them penniless, the little family must rely upon the charity of an uncle, a heartless man who really cares nothing about them. Kate is forced to work for a while as a milliner, and she and her mother endure uncomfortable lodgings, while Nicholas is off earning a living. Kate, while gentle in the way of her contemporaries, shows considerable fortitude in her hard life, working hard, saving her virtue from the notorious Sir Hawk, avoiding her harsh uncle and – finally – finding her true reward in true love with the fortuitously named Frank Cheeryble.

Popular Songs

ON NICHOLAS

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


Famous People

NAMED NICHOLAS

Nicholas I (Emperor of Russia)
Nicholas Romanov (last Emperor of Russia)
Nicholas I (Emperor of Russia)
Nicholas Romanov (last Emperor of Russia)
Nicholas I (Emperor of Russia)
Nicholas Romanov (last Emperor of Russia)

Children of Famous People

NAMED NICHOLAS

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

Historic Figures

WITH THE NAME NICHOLAS

St. Nicholas was a 4th century bishop in the town of Myra (present day Turkey). Despite all the legends that surround him, nothing factual is known for certain. He performed many good deeds and was a friend to the poor and helpless. Myths and legends soon sprang up around him. He could supposedly calm the raging seas, rescue desperate sailors, help the poor and downtrodden, and save children. He was soon named as the patron saint of sailors. The most famous legend, of course, comes to us via the Dutch – where he is known as Sinterklaas. Two weeks before St. Nicholas’ traditional birthday (December 6th), he arrives to the Netherlands by way of steamboat from Spain, along with a couple helpers. At night, he tramps across the countryside wearing his red mantle, his tall hat, his golden staff and his long white beard with his book that lists all the good and bad children. From his bag, he disperses the gifts and candy to only the good children. St. Nicholas has also become the patron saint of children.

Nicholas I was the Emperor of Russia from 1825 until 1855, known as one of the most reactionary of the Russian monarchs. On the eve of his death, the Russian Empire reached its historical zenith spanning almost 8 million square miles. In his capacity as the emperor he was also the King of Poland and the Grand Duke of Finland.

Born Nikolay Romanov, Nicholas II was the last Emperor of Russia. His reign saw Imperial Russia go from being one of the foremost great powers of the world to a complete economic and military collapse. As head of state, he approved the Russian mobilization of August 1914, which marked the first fatal step into World War I and thus into the demise of the Romanov dynasty less than four years later. He abdicated following the February Revolution of 1917 during which he and his family were imprisoned. He, his wife, son and four daughters (one of whom was Anastasia, thought to have survived) were murdered by the Bolsheviks in 1918. Today, they are all considered martyrs and have been canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church.

St. Nicholas was a 4th century bishop in the town of Myra (present day Turkey). Despite all the legends that surround him, nothing factual is known for certain. He performed many good deeds and was a friend to the poor and helpless. Myths and legends soon sprang up around him. He could supposedly calm the raging seas, rescue desperate sailors, help the poor and downtrodden, and save children. He was soon named as the patron saint of sailors. The most famous legend, of course, comes to us via the Dutch – where he is known as Sinterklaas. Two weeks before St. Nicholas’ traditional birthday (December 6th), he arrives to the Netherlands by way of steamboat from Spain, along with a couple helpers. At night, he tramps across the countryside wearing his red mantle, his tall hat, his golden staff and his long white beard with his book that lists all the good and bad children. From his bag, he disperses the gifts and candy to only the good children. St. Nicholas has also become the patron saint of children.

Nicholas I was the Emperor of Russia from 1825 until 1855, known as one of the most reactionary of the Russian monarchs. On the eve of his death, the Russian Empire reached its historical zenith spanning almost 8 million square miles. In his capacity as the emperor he was also the King of Poland and the Grand Duke of Finland.

Born Nikolay Romanov, Nicholas II was the last Emperor of Russia. His reign saw Imperial Russia go from being one of the foremost great powers of the world to a complete economic and military collapse. As head of state, he approved the Russian mobilization of August 1914, which marked the first fatal step into World War I and thus into the demise of the Romanov dynasty less than four years later. He abdicated following the February Revolution of 1917 during which he and his family were imprisoned. He, his wife, son and four daughters (one of whom was Anastasia, thought to have survived) were murdered by the Bolsheviks in 1918. Today, they are all considered martyrs and have been canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church.

St. Nicholas was a 4th century bishop in the town of Myra (present day Turkey). Despite all the legends that surround him, nothing factual is known for certain. He performed many good deeds and was a friend to the poor and helpless. Myths and legends soon sprang up around him. He could supposedly calm the raging seas, rescue desperate sailors, help the poor and downtrodden, and save children. He was soon named as the patron saint of sailors. The most famous legend, of course, comes to us via the Dutch – where he is known as Sinterklaas. Two weeks before St. Nicholas’ traditional birthday (December 6th), he arrives to the Netherlands by way of steamboat from Spain, along with a couple helpers. At night, he tramps across the countryside wearing his red mantle, his tall hat, his golden staff and his long white beard with his book that lists all the good and bad children. From his bag, he disperses the gifts and candy to only the good children. St. Nicholas has also become the patron saint of children.

Born Nikolay Romanov, Nicholas II was the last Emperor of Russia. His reign saw Imperial Russia go from being one of the foremost great powers of the world to a complete economic and military collapse. As head of state, he approved the Russian mobilization of August 1914, which marked the first fatal step into World War I and thus into the demise of the Romanov dynasty less than four years later. He abdicated following the February Revolution of 1917 during which he and his family were imprisoned. He, his wife, son and four daughters (one of whom was Anastasia, thought to have survived) were murdered by the Bolsheviks in 1918. Today, they are all considered martyrs and have been canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church.

Nicholas I was the Emperor of Russia from 1825 until 1855, known as one of the most reactionary of the Russian monarchs. On the eve of his death, the Russian Empire reached its historical zenith spanning almost 8 million square miles. In his capacity as the emperor he was also the King of Poland and the Grand Duke of Finland.