Etymology & Historical Origin of the Baby Name Winifred

 Winifred is a female personal name that came into circulation among English speakers in the 16th century and is believed to have originated from one of two places. For one, it’s the Anglicization of an Ancient Welsh name, Gwenfrewi, meaning “blessed and peaceful” – from the Welsh elements “gwen” (fair, blessed, white) and “frewi” (peace).  Usage of the name was inspired by a 7th century Welsh saint, St. Winifred (Welsh: Gwenfrewi). According to popular legend, Gwenfrewi was a Celtic/Welsh Christian noblewoman who chose to “take the veil” (i.e. become a nun); a decision which so infuriated a suitor of hers that he lopped off her head with a sword! It was believed that healing spring waters instantly appeared where her severed head had come to rest.  Later, her uncle (St. Beuno) reattached her head to her body which apparently restored her life – St. Winifred would go onto live a pious life as a nun and abbess. Her healing spring waters (St. Winifred’s Well at Holywell in Flintshire, Wales) has been a pilgrimage destination for over 13 centuries now – known as the “Lourdes of Wales.”  It is said that whoever makes a request of God in the name of St. Winifred at her well will be granted his wish (providing that it’s “good for his soul”).   Aside from Winifred’s connection to the Welsh saint, the name is also sometimes considered a female form of Winfred, from the Anglo-Saxon Winfrið, meaning “friend of peace” (from the Olde English elements wine meaning “friend” and friðu meaning “peace”). 

All About the Baby Name – Winifred

Personality

OF THE GIRL NAME WINIFRED

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.

Popularity

OF THE GIRL NAME WINIFRED

Winifred was a relatively high ranking name in the 19th century right on up through the 1920s (a Top 200 favorite). By mid-century, however, old Winifred was fast losing her popularity. In fact, the last time this name could claim Top 1000 status in America was in 1965. Out of style for nearly 50 years now, Winifred was only given to a mere 71 baby girls in 2013.  There’s just something about this name, though, that we can’t help but to find immensely charming. We like the nicknames Winnie and Freddie – gives her a bit of a tomboy edge.  Names like Ruby, Pearl and Hazel are finding a comeback – why not Winifred?

Quick Facts

ON WINIFRED

GENDER:

Girl

ORIGIN:

English

NUMBER OF SYLLABLES:

3

RANKING POPULARITY:

N/A

PRONUNCIATION:

WIN-ә-frid

SIMPLE MEANING:

Friend of peace

Characteristics

OF WINIFRED

Mystical

Wise

Eccentric

Intuitive

Imaginative

Philosophical

Solitary

Cultural References to the Baby Name – Winifred

Literary Characters

OF THE BABY NAME WINIFRED

We cannot find any significant literary characters by the name of Winifred

Popular Songs

ON WINIFRED

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


Famous People

NAMED WINIFRED

St. Winifred (7th century Welsh saint)
Winifred Holtby (English writer)

Children of Famous People

NAMED WINIFRED

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

Historic Figures

WITH THE NAME WINIFRED

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